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12/1/2011
01:08 PM
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Google Chrome Overtakes Firefox

Microsoft's Internet Explorer still has largest share of market, but Google's browser shows strong growth.

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Google's effort to get more people to use its Chrome browser has been paying off. For the first time, Chrome usage worldwide has surpassed Firefox usage, according to Internet metrics company StatCounter.

Chrome's share of the worldwide browser market in November reached 25.69%, an increase of 4.66% from a year earlier. Firefox came in at 25.23% while Microsoft Internet Explorer, in its various versions, totaled 40.63%.

StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen stressed that his firm's statistics measure usage rather than downloads and noted that Chrome had become a real rival to Internet Explorer globally.

The numbers Google has reported suggest Chrome's usage gains should be even more significant: In May, Google said it had 160 million Chrome users and in October, it said Chrome had reached 200 million users, an increase of 25% in just five months.

[ Google's year in review. Read Google's Daring Dozen: 12 Big Bets In 2011. ]

But NetApplication's assessment of the world browser market shows more modest gains for Chrome. In January, Chrome had 11.15% global market share. In November, Chrome reached 18.18%. Firefox meanwhile slipped slight to 22.14%, having started the year at 23.72%.

Whichever figures one uses, the trend suggests that Mozilla's Firefox marketing, which has stressed the virtuous, community-oriented nature of Firefox, is being overshadowed by the brand strength and distribution power of Google.

Microsoft meanwhile is feting Internet Explorer 9's increased adoption as the leading browser on Windows 7 worldwide.

"According to Net Applications, IE9 usage share on Windows 7 worldwide is now higher than all versions of Chrome and all versions of Firefox--second only to IE8," declared Roger Capriotti, director of Microsoft's Internet Explorer product marketing team in a blog post. "That's great news for consumers and developers alike who can benefit from the richer Web experiences and standards support in IE9!"

However, that's a fairly limited frame of reference. If you look beyond browser usage on Windows 7, Chrome is ahead of IE 9 using NetApplication's numbers. This isn't particularly surprising given Internet Explorer's absence from the Mac and Linux markets.

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