Chrome Releases Third Beta — Competitors Excited?

Google has just released its third beta version of its Chrome browser — and, by all accounts, its competitors may actually be thrilled.

First, the new release: Chrome version 0.3.154.9 is expected to go out to users automatically within the “next few days,” according to a blog posted last night. It implements a substantial security fix, as well as improved Flash and Silverlight performance, touchpad scrolling support, and some changes to the interface.

Now, the counterintuitive effect: Chrome seems, at this point, to be helping the other browsers on the market. After its initial draw, recent reports show Chrome’s numbers dropping and the number of users on other browsers climbing. Opera CEO Jon S. von Tetzchner sees it as a direct effect. In an interview with GigaOM published today, von Tetzchner said the publicity surrounded Chrome essentially gave him free exposure to an audience who didn’t know his product existed.

“The effect of Chrome so far has been 20 percent more downloads every day,” he told GigaOM. “It’s fairly logical when you think about it, because the biggest hurdle we have is all those people that don’t realize there’s an alternative in the market. Now, with the launch of Chrome there’s focus on the choice of browsers in the market.”

So what’s in the cards for Chrome’s future? Our Inquisitr poll last month asked you what you thought.

  • 39 percent of you believe Chrome will stick around and carve out its share of the market.
  • 29 percent said it will stick around but never see widespread success.
  • 32 percent said it will eventually fade into Google Lab oblivion.

To be fair, Google’s first foray into the browser world is still in beta, so we may be jumping to early judgments on its ultimate success. Then again, Gmail’s still in beta, too, and it’s doing just fine. Chrome came into a market with several popular and relatively advanced browsers, so finding a sizable userbase willing to abandon Firefox, Safari, or Opera may prove extra challenging for Google. So far, though, the team is showing no signs of giving up yet. Let’s see if their efforts pay off, or if — as a third of you predicted — Chrome vanishes into the final resting spot of so many Google projects past.

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