Google Chrome Leaves Beta

By Josh Catone

Just over three months after launching their browser, Google has removed the beta tag from Chrome. This might be the quickest a Google product has dropped the beta from its moniker — Gmail, for example, was in beta for almost 3 years has been in beta for 4 years. “We have removed the beta label as our goals for stability and performance have been met but our work is far from done,” write Google’s Sundar Pichai, a VP of Product Management, and Engineering Director Linus Upson in a blog post today.

Though Chrome may be stable enough to drop the beta tag, the browser is still far from complete enough to be a truly viable competitor to other alternative browsers like Firefox and Safari. Chrome still lacks support for basic features like form autofill and RSS, and perhaps more crucially, has no official support for the Linux and Mac platforms.

Another major feature that Chrome currently lacks is extensions. Adding support for browser plugins is a priority, though, and a Google recently published a document that details their plans for extensions for the Chromium project (Chromium is the open source project behind Chrome). We predicted earlier this month that once Chrome adds extensions support, the browser will become instantly more attractive to early adopters and will start to pull more users away from Firefox.

Chrome’s share of the browser market is still tiny, but Google has not been shy about putting a download link on, even when the product was still in beta. With that kind of exposure, and with Chrome now proclaimed stable, Chrome could start to creep up from its current ~1% share (Google claims 10 million active users — including on Antarctica, apparently). That could be especially true once some of the feature we mentioned above make an appearance.

We noted earlier this week that Chrome is an important part of Google’s 3-pronged Web OS strategy. Along with Gears (offline data store) and Native Client (local CPU resources for web apps), Chrome gives Google a compelling platform for the delivery of web applications. In that respect, Chrome is less an attack on Firefox and Internet Explorer, and more of a thrust at Windows. Google is pushing for a computing future in which applications are delivered from the cloud and the computer operating system doesn’t really matter. Whether the client is running Windows, Mac, Linux or something else is irrelevant for Google’s Web OS vision.

  • Jared

    Gmail is STILL in beta…

  • Anonymously

    Gmail, for example, was in beta for almost 3 years.

    Gmail is still in beta as of today — and status as a beta application has been the case since March 2004. Please check your facts before posting.

  • Lauren

    I want to love chrome, but it doesn’t seem to work on anything that requires authentication. i.e. gmail, yahoo mail, etc. very annoying.

  • @Jared: I guess I was thinking of how long Gmail was in private beta. Whoops. :)

  • I don’t like google web browser at all… Its stupid in my opinion.

  • Jarryd

    I think the Chrome is a really nice browser at the moment, if all you do is browse the web occasionally and want super-fast loading. What I usually do is use Firefox to read my feeds and bookmarks, bug check web sites and other extensions and use Chrome to run the back of my CMS, which actually speeds up my workflow heaps.

    Nice to hear it’s come out of beta.

  • wow they should have fixed all the problems with it first. I like using it but there are so many features on so many sites that just don’t work in chrome.

  • F.Danials

    I still see no advantages in changing over to Google Chrome, why re-invent what’s already done.

    The only real big difference between Google Chrome and the other competitors on the market, is the fact that Chrome’s tabs open in a separate process, avoiding crashing the whole browsers should something drastic happen.

    I’m sure it won’t be long before FireFox (My Favourite) will inherit the same functionality as Chrome, and therefore will prevent users needing to convert to Google’s new browser, in order to utilize this new functionality/feature.

    I’m open to anyone’s thoughts ;)

  • “The only real big difference between Google Chrome and the other competitors on the market, is the fact that Chrome’s tabs open in a separate process, avoiding crashing the whole browsers should something drastic happen.”

    Amazing technology that has been available since… well, since the first browser that allowed multiple instances really! Even IE6 runs all its windows in a separate process, what’s so special and new about it? Just that all of them are in the same window?

    Chrome is missing a LOT of features to be used by me. For one, you can’t even press the middle mouse button down to scroll.

  • waji

    I still use Google Chrome because of the Interface wide and open but many features are missing :( firefox is amazing but they should make the interface a bit better :p

  • I love the simplicity of Chrome. The lack of features is what draws me in. It’s the lack of functionality that has me resorting to Firefox. Some applications just don’t work in Chrome. Perhaps its buggy code in the application… perhaps it’s a bug in Chrome. Not sure. Anyone have any luck sending email in Hotmail with Chrome? Doesn’t work for us…

  • Google Chrome is very fast! It’s simple and easy to use, no complicated graphics on the browser. I think it can beat safari browser on loading time?

  • Chrome has been my primary browser since it came out. It’s fast, loads quick, and does everything a normal user could want. Where it lacks is in developer features. When I need to debug a site, I switch over to Firefox to take advantage of Firebug, and the Web Developer toolbar.

  • @croele I agree completely.

    I also use Chrome as my primary browser, and switch to Firefox for development purposes. The latest release of Firefox seems to take forever to load. I see no need to wait for FF to load when I can fire up Chrome and be on my way. But, as has been stated over and over, Chrome needs plugins. When it is able to help me with debugging and other development issues, I’ll probably ditch Firefox.

  • I never heard of Chrome, how long is Chrome been in the internet business? Is Chrome like a web browser?

  • James Clark

    I don’t really see why Chrome has even been made. Surely there are more than enough browsers already, creating yet another seems unnecessary. Perhaps Google are planning to make future developments to compliment Chrome more than other browsers?

  • Coenn HC Chrome user

    I am addicted to Chrome :O Its just so clear and simple. It has many features and ok, some buggs will come. But when you people say; Why make another webbrowser. I am someone who loves it to test new things. I used all web browsers, for fun! and this is my favorite. I use it 98% for the sites. I use others for sites who dont accept Google chrome, because it is not in the Browser-that-is-accepted list.

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