According to Irish web analytics company StatCounter, Google Chrome has surpassed rival Firefox to become the second most popular browser by market share. StatCounter announced that Chrome is now used by 25.7% of web surfers everywhere, narrowly besting Mozilla’s 25.2% slice of the pie. Internet Explorer in all its various incarnations is still number one, with 40.6% of the browser market. Apple’s Safari took fourth place with roughly 5%, while Norwegian browser Opera can boast a market share of between 1 and 2 percent. Though this is good news for Google, the results of StatCounter’s data crunching may not be entirely accurate.
While StatCounter has already crowned Chrome as the browser runner-up, rival analytics firm Net Applications begs to differ. According to their numbers Chrome has a market share of 18.2%, with Firefox maintaining a healthy but rapidly eroding lead with 22.1%. That’s a fairly sizable discrepancy between the two company’s numbers, and it’s not entirely clear what led to those results. What’s not disputed is that Chrome is easily the fastest growing browser in terms of momentum. In India, they’re already the top browser with 34.7% market share. If the rest of the developing world takes to Chrome as India has, you can rest assured that they’ll be the top browser worldwide at some point.
Inevitable Chrome Dominance?
At the end of the day, a few percentage points doesn’t make much of a difference. Furthermore, there’s probably not much that Firefox can do to prevent slipping to third place. Google’s Chrome is arguably the fastest browser available, which is part of the reason behind its growing popularity. Chrome also supports just as many high-quality browser extensions as Firefox. Plugins were what initially attracted so many people to Firefox a few years back. We’ll probably see Chrome take the top spot some time in the next 24 months, considering the fact that they experienced 10.8% growth this past year alone.
Why Google Wants The Top Spot
Google doesn’t want to have the top browser to make money. Well, not directly, that is. King of the Browsers isn’t a particularly lucrative title. But it is a great form of advertising for the company. Nothing is better at positioning Google as the go-to source for everything web-related than a premium browser. It further cements Google’s position as a web software authority. They already feature plenty of free tools like Google Docs, Gmail and Google Calendar. They offer such free services to increase the odds that you’ll spring for something they actually sell, like some shiny new Adsense placements. Chrome is just another piece of that puzzle.
The rise of Chrome is just another part of Google’s long-term plan for remaining relevant. Though it seems unthinkable, another company might just wrest control of the search market from them in the near future. They know they have to diversify their income streams, and Chrome is a good way to stay in the public’s eye. Ultimately, competition in any form is good for the end user. You can thank Firefox for that. They were the first to challenge Microsoft’s near-monopoly on the browser market and push them towards improving their product. Whatever happens next, 2012 should be an interesting year for web browsers.
Author, Zienna Miller, loves using both Chrome and Firefox but can’t really decide between the two, just like she can’t between her cute new pet pig she adopted from buyteacuppigs.net, or her BFF, Daniel Hayes. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to write for us?