The name chrome comes from the description of the elements within an application that are outside of the window's content area. Toolbars, menu bars etc.
Grabbing your attention may have been the goal for chrome in the 50’s car culture, but speed does appears to be the objective for Google’s Chrome browser, according to this CNet article that suggests speed for Google equals more browsing, and more clicks on Google ads.
However, no clues from the Official Google blog on the origin of the name, Scott McCloud's business comic about the Chrome project, gives us 40 or so pages on a description of why the project was built, why it is faster, safer and how people can help the project.
Scott McCloud is the author of "understanding Comics," a classic graphic comic text book on comics and creativity, and someone who inspired my ideas about business comic letters. His comic rendering of the Google teams thoughts and ideas about Chrome does explain the benefits and technology of Chrome. I have to agree with one local commentator however, that there was a lot to take in one sitting.
I downloaded Chrome today, the UI is different, very simple, the ability to add tabs without having to open a pull down menu eliminates step. As the comic describes, the UI interface for the tabs was inspired for the underlying technology. Each tab is independent of the other tabs, if one has a problem the rest will not be affected, so Chrome claims. Looking forward to using the browser, and seeing how it matches up with Firefox and IE.
Update: Read Sheri McLeish's take on the new Chrome, one of my colleagues at Forrester Research.