Google Releases Chrome 3.0, Vows to Double Market Share

googlechromeIt’s been a year since Google first released a non-beta version of its its streamlined Chrome Web browser—now the company has released Chrome 3.0, the latest stable release. Chrome 3.0 sports features tweaked and refined based on user feedback, including HTML 5 support, an improved “Omnibox,” and a new Tab page offering thumbnails of a user’s most-visited Web sites—with the ability to pin pages in place even if browsing habits change. And the already-sprightly Chrome offers further performance improvements, including a 25 percent improvement in JavaScript performance over the previous release.

Google is also angling to increase Chrome’s share of the browser market, which currently hovers around 2.8 percent, or roughly fourth place in the market—just behind Apple’s Safari browser, and far behind Firefox and Internet Explorer, which account for about 25 percent and 65 percent of the market respectively. Google recently announced a partnership with Sony to bundle Chrome with Vaio notebooks; it makes sense that the company is looking at other distribution deals to put Chrome on more desktops. Speaking with Reuters, Chrome’s engineering director Linus Upton indicated he would be “exceptionally disappointed” if Chrome does not double its market share in each of the next two years.

So far, release versions of Chrome are only available for Windows. Google has repeatedly promised a release version for Macintosh users; the latest timeframe targets a release by the end of 2009.

Chrome is a slightly odd product for Google: the company does not derive any revenue directly from users adopting the browser. Rather, the company views Chrome as a platform for developing Web-based services and applications, including its own popular Gmail and Google Apps services. Google has also announced it is developing a lightweight operating system dubbed Chrome OS, initially targeting netbooks.