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Google bolts 'stable' Chrome 3 onto interwebs

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Google has released a “stable” Windows-only version of Chrome 3, and admitted it’ll be “exceptionally disappointed” if it hasn’t grabbed at least five per cent of the browser market by this time next year.

Chrome debuted a little over a year ago, but take-up hasn’t been as swift as Google might’ve expected.

The browser currently pulls in less than three per cent of users worldwide, and trails* a distant fourth place behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (67 per cent), Mozilla’s Firefox (23 per cent) and Apple’s Safari (four per cent).

It is no wonder that its Chrome engineering director Linus Upson confessed to Reuters that the company wants more than a measly 2.8 per cent share as it stands today.

"If at the two-year birthday we're not at least five per cent (market share), I will be exceptionally disappointed. And if at the three year birthday we're not at 10 per cent, I will be exceptionally disappointed," he said.

Google said in a blog post yesterday that it was “kicking off” its second year of Chrome with a new, “stable” iteration of the browser. It’s only available to Windows users right now, however.

More than one year on from the launch of Chrome and the Mac OS X version of the browser is still merely at the testing stage. It won’t land for mainstream users for at least a few months.

The latest Windows Vista and XP SP2-only release of the browser comes loaded with speed improvements and a redesign of some popular features, said Google.

The Tab page has been tinkered with, there’s enhanced support for HTML 5 and more icons have been added to Omnibox - which is Chrome's search-web-address-combi-bar.

“With this release, we've optimised the presentation of the drop-down menu and added little icons to help you distinguish between suggested sites, searches, bookmarks, and sites from your browsing history,” said Google.

Over the coming months Mountain View will be haranguing disties to sign deals with Google in an effort to get Chrome on more PCs, according to Reuters. As we reported previously, the firm recently inked a deal with Sony Corp to pre-load Chrome on to some of the Japanese tech giant’s PCs.

And of course, Google won’t want those agreements to end simply with the browser as, after all, eventually Chrome will be delivered as an OS that Google hopes might one day rival Microsoft’s Windows platform.

Best stop deriding all those "dinosaur" system integrators out there then, chaps. ®

*According to browser market watcher Net Applications' August stats.

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