Finally: Google Releases Chrome for Android

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced that a beta version of its Chrome browser will now be available on Android smartphones, that is, if you have Android 4.0, the very latest Android operating system more commonly referred to as the Ice Cream Sandwich.

CNET‘s Stephen Shankland gives Chrome for Android a big thumbs up, but says its availability to only Android 4.0 users is a major limiting factor. According to Shankland, only 1 percent of Android devices currently run on the Ice Cream Sandwich OS, which really narrows the market for the new Chrome browser.

The browser allows users to open multiple windows at a time and easily switch between windows using tabs. Chrome for Android has the ability to synchronize with a desktop browser, and allows for pinch-to-zoom and flick-to-roll movements familiar to iPad and iPhone users.

CNET‘s Seth Rosenblatt says that, for a beta, Chrome is a “really tight browser.” Google believes that the ease of use Chrome offers will increase the time Android users spend on the Web.

“In general, we have seen usage go up. I expect to see more people use the mobile Web,” said  Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Chrome and Apps.

The Chrome browser is currently offered through the Android Market, so Android users won’t have to wait for a new device to upgrade. The new Chrome browser will also be available on all newly-shipped Android phones.

Here’s how shares of Google are reacting to the news:

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG): GOOG shares recently traded at $611.84, up $1.99, or 0.33%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $473.02 to $670.25. Volume today was 1,480,019 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,022,020 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 20.53, while trailing earnings are $29.76 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ashley Cloninger at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com