Chrome Shines A Little Brighter, Drops The Beta Tag With New Release

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Google’s Chrome browser is officially ready for prime time. As we reported earlier this week, Google has dropped the Browser’s Beta label after a mere 14 weeks (many Google products, like Gmail, have been billed as Betas for years). The browser now claims over 10 million active users worldwide.

Since launching, Chrome has implemented a number of major bug fixes (audio and video are less glitchy), increased performance on the browser’s V8 JavaScript engine, added a bookmark manager, and introduced UI changes to make privacy settings more accessible. The company’s blog post also says that an extension platform (similar to Firefox’s add-ons) is on the way. Mac and Linux versions are still nowhere to be seen.

During our talk at LeWeb with Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of Search Product and User Experience, we learned that the (relatively) quick turnaround is due to the fact that Chrome is a client software application. Many OEMs won’t touch software that is still in Beta, so Google had an incentive to conduct a thorough but finite testing Beta program. Conversely, cloud-based apps like Gmail can retain their Beta status indefinitely so long as Google feels that there are still major features that should be added.

So how has Google Chrome fared? It was clear from the get-go that this thing was fast, touting new features and enhanced stability that made it a great new entry into the browser market. Within a few days after launch the browser made up 6.23% of our traffic – a few weeks later it was up to 8.12%. Some analysts guessed that it might even be able to overtake Firefox within the next two years.

But since then that number has fallen to around 6% of our total traffic – nearly three times more than Opera, but well below Safari (9.87%), Internet Explorer (28.37%), and Firefox (52.05%). For a browser that is only a few months old this is still an impressive feat, but for Chrome to take on Internet Explorer (which is Google’s ultimate goal), Chrome’s market share needs to be showing consistent growth. TechCrunch traffic is by no means representative of the web as a whole (a recent report pegs Chrome’s overall US market share at .62% vs 81.36% for IE), but a large number of early adopters read this site and may be indicative of future trends.

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