Google Chrome has now been released for download - see Derek's post for some opinion on this or the "leaked" information from Google. I've installed it and I have to say that I like it a lot - the minimalist UI is rather nice (although IE7 has drifted in a similar direction), the "omnibox" (was previously the address bar) seems to actually work in terms of how it handles it's auto completion and the initial start page is a great idea. But the thing that really got to me was just how fast it is. And I mean ...
There's lots of numbers below where I try to measure just how fast Google Chrome is compared to IE 7, but what really impressed me was when my wife (who is non-techie) browsed a few sites using Chrome and noticed the difference in speed.
As a final test, I loaded up the SunSpider test from WebKit - this is a test which purports to target real-world usage and avoid "useless" micro-benchmarks. I expected Chrome to do well against this, since Google say that Webkit forms a big part of the Chrome browser, but Chrome managed to beat my already high expectations. It came in 16.9 times faster than IE 7 and some of the differences were simply staggering.
Overall, this is quite an amazing first drop of code and I didn't have a single crash or notice any rendering errors. I'll leave others to speculate on exactly what this means for Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but I think it's fair to say that Google have raised the standard of what to expect from a browser quite considerably.
[EDIT: Rory has also posted about Google Chrome. The interesting thing is that he also includes some numbers about memory usage.]