We were once worried Google’s (GOOG) Chrome would end up abandoned like virtual world Lively or kept alive-but-ignored-and-poorly-executed like “Wikipedia killer” Knol. But this morning we got a good indicator Google is taking its new browser seriously: At a Paris conference, Google VP Marissa Mayer told TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington the company is taking Chrome out of “beta.”
Mayer says OEM partners (think Dell (DELL), HP (HPQ)) won’t consider pre-installing Chrome on new PCs with the “beta” tag attached. (Not that “beta” really means all that much at Google — the company is notorious for keeping the “beta” label on seemingly mature products for years after they’ve gone live and have acquired dedicated users. Both Gmail and Google Docs remain technically in “beta.”)
This is a good omen for Chrome. Google needs pre-install deals for Chrome to break into the browser market. Pre-installs is how Microsoft (MSFT) broke the back of once-ubiquitous Netscape in the 90s. And with Google already reportedly working with Dell on pre-installs, the groundwork for a Chrome deal is in place.
Now where’s Chrome-for-Mac? Google already said it intends a port to Apple’s (AAPL) computers– and if Google is really making a serious play with Chrome, it needs Mac users’ mindshare and enthusiasm.