according to new data from StatCounter.Only three years after hitting the market, Google's Chrome Web browser has overtaken Firefox as the #2 most-used browser,
Chrome now has 25.69% of the global browser marketshare, just a slight notch above Firefox, which holds on at 25.23%. In September, it was predicted that Chrome was on track to bump Firefox from the #2 slot by about this time, and sure enough that projection has come true. Granted, that prediction was also based on StatCounter numbers, and this data often looks different depending on who is doing the reporting.
Still, it's quite an impressive feat for Chrome. The browser was first released in 2008 and already it's surpassing Firefox, which was launched four years earlier. In the time that's passed since its initial release, Chrome has released features and upgrades at a rapid clip and managed to gain a reputation for offering a speedy browsing experience. In his Top Ten Consumer Web Products of 2011, ReadWriteWeb's Jon Mitchell puts Chrome at the top of the list, citing the product's rapid development cycle, growing marketshare and recent focus on Web apps.
It's worth noting that this latest data comes from only one source, and that these kinds of statistics can offer differ from source to source. For example, Net Applications still puts Chrome behind Firefox and Internet Explorer. Chrome is still growing fast in that data set, but at 17.62% it's several percentage points lower than what StatCounter is reporting.
Still leading the pack, of course, is Microsoft's Internet Explorer. We've come a long way since the days when IE duked it out with Netscape Navigator, but IE remains entrenched on many people's machines, often because it's the default on Windows. This isn't as cringe-worthy as it once was for Web developers, since Microsoft has put a renewed focus on Web standards support. Internet Explorer 9, the latest version, is now the most-used browser on the Windows 7 operating system, according to the company. That said, plenty of machines are still running Windows XP and even Internet Explorer 6 refuses to die off completely.
Internet Explorer still has a hefty lead over Chrome, but if the growth of Google's young browser is any indication, it could provide a formidable challenge to IE in due time.