Google finally launched its homemade Chrome browser for mobile devices Feb. 7, and the second most popular Web browser is now available in the Android Market for smartphones and tablets running Android 4.0. That's because Google says this is a beta launch, and once all the bugs are worked out, Chrome for Android will be available for other Android versions. For now, that means it's ready for only the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S smartphones and Motorola Xoom and Asus Transformer Prime tablets.
If it's not already obvious, Google sees the growing trend of smartphone use going up at a nearly insatiable rate. But one thing that may be less obvious is the growing trend of smartphone users who access the Web. The focus of much online debate about smartphone use has been around apps. Which are the best, which are the ones you must have and whatnot. But as more people rely less on apps and spend more time in their browser, the Chrome launch becomes that much more critical to Google's success in the mobile world.
It took Google almost a full year to debut the new app, and both Android and Chrome are gaining in popularity at an astounding rate. Chrome took over as the second most popular browser in November when it eclipsed Firefox.
This is a big moment for us, Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president for Chrome and Apps told the San Jose Mercury News.
The world is going mobile at a pretty phenomenal rate. Using the Web on a mobile device I think is in its early stages, and we think this a big step toward where we're headed.
Web browsers are becoming more powerful, and that is one reason more people are using them to access the web on mobile devices, as opposed to using apps.
All our data shows increasing usage of the Web on phones and tablets, Pichai said.
So our goal was to build a mobile browser from the ground up that provides the same fast, simple experience people have come to expect from surfing the Web on their desktop, and really push the boundaries of what is possible on the mobile Web.
New features of Chrome mobile are synching with desktop versions (bookmarks and passwords) and more robust tab functionality. There is no timeline set for when the new browser will be ready for non-Android 4.0 versions. Tell us in the comments what browser you use and if you'll be trying out Chrome as well.