Google Chrome to become the world’s most popular browser

Apr. 05, 2012 | by Andrew Ball

Google Chrome is set to overtake Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the world’s most popular browser in May, finally ending Microsoft’s dominance.

Sunday the 18th of March 2012 was an historic day in the browser wars, with Google Chrome finally overtaking Internet Explorer to take the top spot for the day in terms of global browser market share. Whilst this victory was short-lived, with Internet Explorer regaining its crown come Monday morning, it shows the impressive gains that Chrome has made since it was launched in December 2008.

The next question can only be: when will Chrome overtake IE for good?

Google Chrome users

Extrapolating the monthly market share for the two browsers shows that Google Chrome is set to continue its surge to permanently best Internet Explorer in May this year to become the world’s most popular browser.

But since Chrome will not overtake IE until the end of the month, we need to look deeper to see the point where Chrome has already passed IE.

Browser market share

Looking at the daily numbers reveals an intriguing story, with IE and Chrome performing a weekly fluctuating dance. This shows that during the working week, Internet Explorer’s market share is tracking ~5% above Google Chrome. This changes at the weekend, however, and it appears that when office workers power up their personal machines they are more inclined to favour Chrome

Since IT departments in large companies often dictate what software can and cannot be used on office computers, sometimes forcing their employees to use a specific browser, the weekend figures seem to indicate that Google Chrome has already won the people’s choice award.

As with all cases when measuring across different systems, there will be discrepancies in the results, especially when the scope is “as much of the whole world as we can manage”. One of these is the fact that Chrome utilises pre-rendering of pages which, whilst providing a faster experience for the user, can falsely inflate results if the user does not then browse to that site. The result of this is small though, as it produced no jump when introduced, so whilst there may be debate over the exact point, it is clear that Microsoft is losing this fight.

Why is Chrome winning?

There will be no single reason why Google Chrome is outperforming Internet Explorer, as the requirements of each user is unique, and what they value from Chrome will be specific to them and what they are using the browser for. Two such reasons are:

• Speed is a massive factor when people are surfing the internet, with demands for ever increasing download speeds meaning that a site can be viewed almost instantaneously. Chrome has traditionally presented itself as the ‘fast browser’, aiming to reduce page load overheads as much as possible, with pre-rendering being the ultimate example of this.

• As more and more companies and users use Google products for email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and calendars, using a browser from the same company helps ensure the products are fully functional and integrated with the browser.

What does this mean for brands?

One of the main benefits for brands is actually the fact that Google Chrome has built-in automatic update functionality, which ensures that all installs of their browser are running the same version. This, at a stroke, prevented Chrome from having similar issues as those caused by legacy browsers such as IE6, which is a browser Microsoft have been trying to kill for a while.

This allows brands to create websites using the latest and greatest technologies available, such as HTML5 and CSS3, to create slick cool sites, without having to waste time and effort in catering for out-of-date standards and technologies.

Another feature of Chrome that can appeal to brands is the ability to have Apps that work within the browser itself, and extensions that modify the browsers behaviour. These provide the potential for brands to integrate themselves more completely in the user’s mentality, which is further strengthened by the option for a user to have a custom Chrome theme.

What does this mean for Google?

As the leader of the browser pack, Google will have to work to ensure they retain this lead. Continuing to ensure they include all the latest advances in technology is crucial to this endeavour, and gives them a greater opportunity to define how those advantages play out across the web.

One potential drawback for Google is that as the biggest, they represent the biggest target, from both those with malicious intent and those enforcing fair-play across the browser arena. Having the same version of their software across the world means that any security flaw is exploitable across everyone with little time delay, and whilst the same updating can be used to fix the flaws, this will result in more frequent updates.

As the popularity of the browser increases, so does the likelihood that Google will create a monopoly, at least in some countries. This could create a situation where they cannot have Google Search as the default search engine on initial install, as it would be seen to be exploiting that monopoly for their own gain, as Search is where Google make a large percentage of their income.

Conclusion

Advances in browser technologies provide users with a richer, more immersive, online experience than ever before, and Google is set to lead this drive with Chrome.

Source: Stat Counter

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