Google Inc. reigns supreme not only in web search, but now, in how people access the Internet. That’s at least according to the latest data from StatCounter, global Web tracking company, which indicates Google’s Chrome web browser recently eclipsed the long-reigning champion, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, to become the world’s most popular Web browser on desktop computers.
Google Inc.’s Chrome browser briefly became the world’s most popular web browser for one weekend in March, but according to the new figures from StatCounter it has now overtaken Internet Explorer the week of May 7 to May 13, reports Mashable.
A Google spokesperson provided the following statement on StatCounter’s fresh data: “It’s great to see more and more people around the world experiencing the speed, simplicity and security of Chrome. We continue to remain focused on building a better browsing experience so that people can enjoy a better web.”
Chrome now accounts for 32.76 percent of the overall browser market share, compared to 31.94 percent for Internet Explorer, by StatCounter’s metrics. Mozilla Firefox, once the second most popular browser in the world, now lingers in an increasingly distant third, with 25.47 percent of the global browser pie.
Chrome has beaten a trend that indicated it was going to surge past IE later this summer. The March figures were dismissed as inaccurate by Microsoft, but even so there is a longer-term trend of users choosing Chrome when they can decide for themselves, while business IT departments favour Internet Explorer.
The Statcounter figures also suggest that Google Android’s built-in browser is now the most popular application on mobile phones. On desktops, Chrome and IE have been on around 33 per cent each, but the last week shows Chrome taking the lead.
Speaking in March, Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter’s chief executive, said “At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to IE.”
The news is great for Google, which only launched Chrome in September 2008, and has spent the past several years aggressively marketing the browser with a multinational video and display advertising campaign.
In December 2011, according to the same figures, Chrome relegated Firefox from second to third position worldwide for the long term. Some have questioned whether Google can also overturn Internet Explorer because of Microsoft’s dominance of corporate desktops.
But the lack of official data from Google only underlines a major disparity when it comes to browser usage. Another third-party tracking company, Net Applications, found that for the month of April 2012, Google Chrome was in third place, with 19 percent of the desktop browser market, compared to Mozilla Firefox’s 20 percent and Internet Explorer’s dominant 54 percent market share.
The differing results aren’t surprising given that Net Applications and StatCounter each pursue their own distinct methods of determining global browser usage data. NetApplications says that it ‘counts’ unique browser visits from the 40,000 websites in its network, totaling about 160 million such visits each month, while StatCounter data is collected from a sample of more than 15 billion page views on more than 3 million websites.
Whether Chrome’s lead is permanent (or valid), one fact emerges: Internet Explorer is losing market share to Google Chrome and Firefox. Looking at either Statcounter or Net Applications, you can see a fairly dramatic downward trend in the Windows stock browser and an uptick in usage from the Mozilla and Google browsers.
The browser trends are expected to continue at least until the general release of Internet Explorer 10 later this year. The new Microsoft’s web browser is tied to the launch of Windows 8, and it may introduce a wild card into the browser game.
While the desktop version of Windows 8 will support third-party browsers just like Windows has in the past, there’s some question whether certain Windows tablets will limit their functionality, in effect forcing users toward using IE10 if they want the abilities of a full web browser.