Chrome: out of beta; is Google out of its mind?

In Friday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers watch Google lose the "beta" tag from it's Chrome browser. Not to mention Charlie The Unicorn II...

Previously in IT Blogwatch: Google Chrome: blogosphere explodes

Gregg Keizer rules (dude):

Google Chrome logo
Google Inc. dropped the beta label from its three-month-old browser today, saying that Chrome is ready for prime time.
Google's browser remains available only in a version that will run on Windows XP and Windows Vista; although the company has promised to create Mac- and Linux-specific versions, it has set no timetable for either.

Chrome accounted for less than 1% of all browsers used last month, Web metrics firm Net Applications Inc. said earlier last week, although its market share climbed slightly in November, finishing the month at 0.83%, up from October's 0.74%.

Ryan Paul recalls:

When Google first began to expand beyond search, the company pioneered a new release management strategy that—to put it diplomatically—challenges the conventional definition of "beta." Although some of Google's most prominent and widely-used web services still bear the beta designation long after their public debut, its new Chrome web browser is heading for a full release and won't remain in beta for much longer.

Chrome is an open source web browser that leverages Apple's WebKit HTML renderer and a unique JavaScript virtual machine called v8. It offers a number of advanced features, such as the Incognito privacy mode and integrated search capabilities in its URL bar. The browser also has a few very impressive innovations under the hood and is designed to isolate individual tabs in separate processes.
Chrome is an increasingly viable contender in the browser market, but it will face a major uphill battle as it attempts to sway the masses. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is definitely in decline and that has created an unprecedented opportunity for alternative browsers. Firefox has grabbed a big chunk of the pie and continues to gain momentum.

Om Malik agrees:

Chrome is critical to the company’s overall cloud-centric computing vision, yet after more than three months in beta, its market share remains abysmally small. So while it might be the fastest beta-to-full launch offering from Google yet, will that be enough?
The browser, it seems, has hit a bit of a plateau, a fact that’s reflected in its share of traffic on this blog ... The marginal growth in the browser’s market share is not good for Google, which needs the browser to grow as part of its overall cloud-centric computing vision. This desktop share is critical for the company if it hopes that Chrome is going to be a dominant player on mobiles and other alternative devices.

Google's Sundar Pichai and Linus Upson want you back:

We have removed the beta label as our goals for stability and performance have been met but our work is far from done. We are working to add some common browser features such as form autofill and RSS support in the near future. We are also developing an extensions platform along with support for Mac and Linux ... If you haven't used Google Chrome for a while, now might be a good time to give it another spin.
Video and audio glitches were among the most common bugs fixed during the beta period. If you had problems watching videos with Google Chrome in the past, you should be pleasantly surprised with the performance now.
It's now easier to switch between another browser and Google Chrome with the bookmark import and export features, and we added a new simple way to manage large numbers of bookmarks, too. We also wanted to make it even easier for you to control your browsing data.

But Dan Tynan isn't one for sloppy seconds:

Dear Chrome ... Just because they took the 'Beta' off the end of your name doesn't mean you're all growed up. It's only been 100 days – that makes you barely legal in most countries, and a babe in arms compared to other Google betas.
But what can I say? I'm a sucker for a pretty face ... So against my better judgment I decided to give another chance ... It's not like being unable to view that site was going to ruin my weekend. But it reminded me of just how young you truly are, how flighty, how.... beta-ish.
And no, you can't have your key back.

Sounds like Kevin C. Tofel prefers Firefox:

While PCs running Windows make up the lions share of the computer market, my gut says that Mac and Linux folks are more likely to adopt a non-native browser than Windows users.
No extensions yet, which is one of the main reasons folks turn to Firefox. Again, this is in the works ... The new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine in the upcoming Firefox 3.1 takes away some of the advantage Chrome has with it's speedy V8 engine.
The Mozilla team has worked hard over the past few years to spread the word and get the Firefox brand in front of as many eyes as possible. This will surely change over time, but for now, I think more people know what Firefox is than what Chrome is.

Credit where credit's due, says Midnight Thunder:

The WebKit team and anyone who ever contributed to it should also get praise. Without it Chrome would never have seen the light of day. Google Chrome is essentially Google's chrome around the rendering engine and any tweaks they provided to WebKit.

But genner observes the obvious:

Meanwhile Gmail is still in beta.

Someone had to say it.

And finally...

Buffer overflow:

Other Computerworld bloggers:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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