Are Google's Sky-High Chrome 3.0 Expectations Realistic?

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Chrome, which was first launched in a non-beta version on Sept. 2, 2008, has high expectations for success inside Google's walls, and one Google executive went so far as to say that anything short of a doubled market share in each of the next two years will be considered a disappointment.

"If at the two-year birthday we're not at least 5 percent, I will be exceptionally disappointed," said Chrome Engineering Director Linus Upson in an interview with Reuters Tuesday. "And if at the three-year birthday we're not at 10 percent, I will be exceptionally disappointed."

Upson also told Reuters that Google's internal expectations for Chrome's growth are even more aggressive than that.

Most Web analytics researchers give Google Chrome a market share, at present, of about 2.8 percent -- a distant fourth place behind more visible competition such as Internet Explorer (67 percent worldwide, according to Net Applications), Firefox (23 percent) and Safari (4 percent).

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According to Google, which described the Chrome update in a post to the Google blog Tuesday, Chrome 3.0 runs much faster and has improved by more than 150 percent overall in JavaScript performance since Chrome's first beta. Google also touts a redesigned New Tab page, an update to its Omnibox search bar and Chrome's embrace of the HTML5 standard.

Google has made a number of moves in recent months to help boost Chrome's profile, including continued feedback from beta testing, attempting to entice open-source developers with cloud-based sync and, most recently, an agreement with Sony to bundle Chrome on new Sony Vaio PCs.

Release versions of Chrome are thus far limited to Windows, though Google keeps promising a Mac version will see the light of day by year's end.

What do you think, readers? Is Google fighting a battle with Chrome that's even worth fighting? Leave a comment in's Connect community and argue your point.