Adventurous Google Chrome fans who are ready to try something beyond the stable, beta, and developer builds now have a fourth option. Google recently announced what it’s calling the "canary build," presumably in reference to the poor little birds that were once used as early warning systems in mines.
The purpose of the new canary build is in some ways similar. Mark Larson, an engineering manager at Google, explained in a Google Groups thread, "The data we get back from canary users – especially crash statistics – helps us find and fix regressions faster."
Unlike miners’ canaries, canary build users won’t be screwed if things go wrong, though. Google’s made it possible for people to run two Chrome builds side by side, and Larson stated, "When something doesn’t work on the canary, I can just fall back to my Beta Google Chrome."
There are some benefits to embracing the canary build, too. Larson wrote, "[W]e’re working on making it update as often as we have successful nightly builds. . . . I recommend it for anyone who wants to help test the latest Chrome features."
So using the canary build of Google Chrome doesn’t have to be a selfless act sure to end in (figurative) death.
Just note before trying to dive in that, at the moment, the canary build is only available for Windows, and it’s not possible to set it as your default browser.