Now, with the beta's release, Chrome's supporting extensions are becoming more numerous. For one thing, Adobe Flash Player is integrated into Chrome, and updated automatically.
Even more importantly, Chrome now has an extension library to rival Firefox's. In fact, many of Chrome's extensions are either ports or close analogs of Firefox's. Others are themes or enhancements specific to Chrome and Google's online services.
To give an example of the variety of extensions available, as I write, the five top-rated Chrome extensions are One Manga Reader, Facebook Photo Zoom, Feedly, Chromey Calculator, and Google Mail Checker Plus, most of whose functions should be guessable from their names.
My only complaints about Chrome's extensions is that, unlike Firefox's, they are not listed by license for the sake of those of us who prefer a completely FOSS system, and that the comments are not policed as well as Firefox's, which consigns browsers to wading through the occasional infestation of spam. These points aside, Chrome has obviously caught the imagination of the extension-building community, and is much the better for doing so.
Undoubtedly, Google Chrome is the biggest development in browsers since Netscape created the Mozilla Organization. As such, it has been the center of mostly uncritical hype. However, if you ignore the hype, what is left is a solid browser -- less spectacular or original than sometimes claimed, but well-worth keeping an eye on.
All the same, doubts remain. Chrome seems to have a mixed reaction to FOSS and privacy issues, sometimes taking them into account and sometimes ignoring them. Perhaps, though, these mixed reactions are due to the fact that, so far, the most that we have seen is a beta. Chrome may be more consistent by the time it reaches final release, although how the GNU/Linux version will manage to be free software with the Adobe Flash player embedded in it is uncertain.
Another misgiving may be the extent to which Chrome integrates into Google's online services. Obviously, you can't expect Google to ignore its own online services, but, in FOSS circles, some may have qualms about entrusting so much of their online experience to a corporation.
No doubt these qualms will seem like paranoia to many, especially since such integrated services are so convenient. But they do mean that Chrome may bear watching as much for the policies surrounding it as for its technological innovation.
One thing is clear: As Chrome moves towards first release, it is likely to become the main influence on other browsers as well, especially Firefox. If Chrome does nothing else, it is already making web browsing a hot topic again.