Peter Pachal July 03, 2012
Google Chrome ... set to eclipse Mozilla Firefox. Photo: Roger Cummins
Last week, Google claimed Chrome was the most popular web browser in the world. By some measures that's true, but one leading research site still places it in the number three spot, behind Internet Explorer and Firefox.
That's about to change.
Net Applications pegs Chrome's market share at 19.08%, less than a percentage point behind Mozilla Firefox, which has 20.06%. However, Chrome's chunk of the market has increased almost 5% over the past year, while Firefox's has decreased almost 3%. Both, however, are far behind IE, which has a commanding 54.02% of the market.
If trends continue, Google's browser will soon claim the second spot in the browser wars. So why did Google say it was the world's top browser?
Google was basing its claim on different data. While Net Applications looks at unique users to determine market share, another research service, StatCounter, looks at overall traffic on three million sites.
Which numbers are more valid? It depends. Net Applications ostensibly measures the number of machines a particular browser is installed on, so it's a good measure of penetration. However, since StatCounter goes by traffic, it's probably a better measure of popularity. If you do the majority of your surfing on Chrome - only launching IE once in a while for a particular app - you count as exactly one user for both browsers for Net Applications, but your Chrome usage has much more weight for StatCounter.
For both services, the stats only pertain to desktop browsers. On mobile, Safari is king, according to Net Applications, thanks to the large market share of the iPhone and iPad. However, StatCounter shows a three-way race for the top spot on mobile, between Safari, Opera and the Android Browser.
It'll be interesting to see how Google's launch of Chrome for iOS will affect the browser race. Since launching last week, Chrome has been the number one free download in the App Store, both for iPhone and iPad. Also, with the release of Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean," Google is moving toward making Chrome the standard browser on Android devices, too.
Mashable is the largest independent news source covering digital culture, social media and technology.