App of the Week: SRWare Iron
Whether or not you like them, Google makes a lot of great and influential products. Among them, Chrome has really moved the browser market forward with its minimalist design, fast update cycle, and rapid growth. However, for all of Chrome’s goodness, some people are concerned about Google’s hand in it. They worry about Google keeping records of their visits, if their personal information is going to be sold to advertisers, etc. (I mean, the other big browsers don’t put a user agreement for you to agree to first). Many still want to test the power and speed of Chrome. Simple put, they want Chrome minus Google. The solution comes from Germany (don’t worry, it’s in English too).
SRWare is a German company that takes Google Chrome’s code and strips Google out of the code and puts it out as the browser called Iron. Iron still has all the speed of Chrome, you can still sync Iron across computers with Google’s sync feature in the browser, and still install Chrome extensions and apps (or you can use Iron’s own little repository). While I still use Rockmelt as my primary browser, Iron is a great Chrome substitute, especially for people who are very privacy conscious. I actually used Iron before Rockmelt as my primary browser and I loved it.
That being said, there are a few things in Iron that just don’t seem right. First of all, every major browser has either an auto-update feature, or at least has a way of notifying you of updates. Iron doesn’t, at all. If you want to see if there is an update, you need to check their downloads page occasionally, or follow them on Twitter. At least some easier way of notifying us of updates would be nice.
Another downside is specifically for Mac. When Google updates Chrome, it usually takes other Chrome-based browsers a few weeks to update, no surprise there, and Iron updates for Linux, Mac, and Windows regularly. It’s that schedule that bugs me; Windows gets updated in the first couple of weeks, Linux a little after that, but not the Mac version. The Mac version doesn’t get updated for 2 whole versions of Chrome. So whereas Windows/Linux Iron updated from Chrome version 9, then to 10, ad then 11, the Mac version updated from 9 to 11. UPDATE on 8-21-2011: With the release of Iron version 13 for Mac, SRWare announced they are going to update the Mac version of Iron more frequently, and release updates alongside its Windows’ counterpart.
Otherwise Iron is a great browser for people who want Chrome, without the privacy worries that you may have about Google. Iron works for OSX 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, and 10.7, as well as Windows XP, Vista, and 7, & most major Linux distributions. You can download it from http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron_download.php