back to article Chrome browser 'is becoming Number Two'

Google's Chrome browser will edge past Mozilla Firefox in a matter of months, web stats poking firms have concluded. Irish company StatCounter foresees the Google browser becoming the second most used browser on the net by December. In the StatCounter predictions, relayed to Computer World, Chrome will sweep 26.6 per cent of …

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  1. VaalDonkie
    Holmes

    "Safari is the most used browser on mobile"

    I doubt that. I would assume Opera mini is is the most popular mobile browser, followed by a clsoe race between safari, IE mobile and whatever teh android browser is called.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Per the linked articles

      StatCounter don't consider the iPad to be mobile. Their iPhone + iPod Touch share is 23.93%. Their number for Opera's share across all mobile versions (ie, Mini + Mobile + the various fringe versions like that in the Nintendo DS) is 22.8%. Nokia come in third with 16.51%, then BlackBerry on 14.28% and finally Android on 12.85%.

      Net Applications count the iPad as mobile and don't combine Opera versions the numbers are arguably skewed — 55.6% to Safari, 18.9% to Opera Mini, 16% to Android and 4.7% to the Symbian browser.

      The disparity on Nokia/Symbian numbers is the oddest thing. I think Android's showing is consistent with the way many Android devices are sold, i.e. without cheap data. People can want to use apps and have a decent browser available just in case without intending to browse often when out and about.

    2. CD001

      popular != most used

      Think how many iDevices there are that have Safari installed - bit like Windows+IE on the desktop.

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      I don't...

      How many people change from their default browser on their mobile device?

      I guess MANY fewer than on the desktop

    4. James Turner

      Why would you assume that?

      People have to go out and actively get Opera mini for their smartphones. Whereas the huge number of people waving iPhones about will all be using Safari by default.

    5. n4blue

      define most popular

      The stats say that Safari is the most used. Even if Opera mini were installed on more handsets (which is I assume what you are getting at) I'm willing to bet the average iSheep uses the browser more than the average Opera user.

    6. taysider

      Dolphin HD

      Beg to differ, Dolphin HD is top of the list

    7. DJV Silver badge
      Flame

      Ah, the Opera mobile/mini user

      One question. Are you the same person as the Opera (desktop) user that's always getting downvoted on here?

      Well, whatever, I'm downvoting you just in case...

      1. asdf
        Coffee/keyboard

        lmao

        funniest post of the day, and he got a downvote from me too, stupid opera fanatics.

    8. jonathanb Silver badge

      iFanbois use their mobile browser a lot more than owners of other phones, so it is perfectly possible that Safari is used in 55% of visits from phones, even if it isn't on 55% of phones.

  2. Matthew 25
    Joke

    Chrome browser 'is becoming Number Two'

    It always was.

  3. John Lilburne

    I have to delete that bloody malware virus at least once a month as some software tries to install it. Last week it was an update from divx.

    1. dave 46

      I've no sympathy for people who click okay without looking what they're clicking okay to.

      1. theblackhand

        Re: I've no sympathy for people who click okay without looking what they're clicking okay to.

        While I can understand your point of view, some software providers (i.e. Adobe) who require about 50 software updates per month and change the location of the "would you like to install crap software product X while updating crap software Y" allows me to see a point of view that involves a end-user that is tricked into installing crud.

    2. Steven Roper

      This is why Chrome is catching up

      If Mozilla used the same malware-like, sneaky, underhanded distribution tactics with Firefox as Google are using to sneak Chrome onto people's computers, they'd have been the dominant browser in the market years ago.

      Google have become no better than the fucking drive-by-download malware injectors because of this practice. Every second piece of "free" software now has this Trojan browser quietly embedded in its install file, waiting for unsuspecting users to miss the tickboxes. All so the big G can better spy on everyone's browsing habits.

      There must be a way of suing them for deceptive trade practices or something.

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        "Would you like to install Google Chrome?"

        "Would you like to install the Ask toolbar?"

        "Would you like to install any other crap that's got nothing to do with the software you actually downloaded?"

        The answer to all of them is a big fat no. I am not aware of any install that doesn't prompt you for this sort of thing. Even Google's own products such as Google Earth give you the choice of installing Chrome.

        I don't give a damn if they move the prompts, they are still there. And if you can't be arsed to read every dialogue before you click next then you are lazy and/or impatient and I have no sympathy.

        1. Goat Jam

          Would You LIke Fries With That?

          "Would you like to install Google Chrome?"

          "Would you like to install the Ask toolbar?"

          "Would you like to install any other crap that's got nothing to do with the software you actually downloaded?"

          This must be an attitude/mindset that afflicts the Windows ecosystem because the adobe stuff I've installed on my Linux boxen never ask stuff like that.

          Ever.

        2. theblackhand

          To expand my example...

          Go and download the latest Adobe Flash player.

          If the Adobe site is running slowly, it is possible to click download before the third-party add-on part of the page loads.

          Congratulations - you're installing crud.

  4. Monkey Bob
    Meh

    I wonder what proportion of Chrome & Firefox users have plugins that make themselves invisible to Statcounter?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not as many as you'd like to believe. Script blockers are not that widely used by the general public and you don't get above 15% market share by supplying software only to geeks and the paranoid.

      I also find it really funny that the people that seem to be most against apple are the ones who tend kneecap their browser so that they can mimic the user experience of the iPhone.

      1. Cameron Colley

        @Micky 1

        If you knew what you were taking about you would realise this:

        "I also find it really funny that the people that seem to be most against apple are the ones who tend kneecap their browser so that they can mimic the user experience of the iPhone."

        Is utter rubbish.

        The main script blocker that is mentioned, NoScript in Firefox, is used to _selectively_ block and/or allow scripts (blacklist and/or whitelist and on-demand). So I can only assume you've either never used it, or are too much of an imbecile to work out how to use it.

      2. Ian McNee
        FAIL

        @Micky 1 too

        Hahahahahahaha! HAHAHAHAHA! AHAHAHAAA!!

        I expect you're using Safari on a Mac so you don't need something like NoScript because your software is impregnable...err...wait a minute...

        Back to the main topic, this is actually a good news story. All of the smaller players are gaining ground against the leader and no-one is in a monopoly position. This tends to keep them honest so nearly everyone benefits, even IE users, poor innocent saps that they are.

  5. J.G.Harston Silver badge
    FAIL

    Chrome confuses the hell out of me. There's no buttons or menus, everything's hidden away somewhere. I had to actually google "how do i set a bookmark in Chrome" in order to ....

  6. Neil Charles

    Just switched from Firefox to Chrome

    I've been a long time Firefox user but thought I'd give Chrome another try the other week as it seems to be the choice now for so many colleagues who I wouldn't expect to be using a sub-standard browser.

    There's not much in it, but Chrome's currently the better of the two. Sorry Firefox, I'll drop back to see who's best again in six months or so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same here

      I stopped using FF about 3 weeks ago for general browsing and I am really enjoying using Chrome, although I still use FF for important or, ahem, photographic interest sites!

      Can't believe how fast Chrome is on screen rendering. I needed to get some tickets for the Missus and you had to be first on the ball at the Ticketmaster website, FF was taking 7-10 secs to screen refresh, Chrome was whipping up the refresh at just short of 2 seconds on the same machine.

      I know it's from the evil empire and everytime I go looking for something it no doubt tell it's masters all about my browsing habits but so long as I get quick browsing and ad-blocking, which it does just as well as FF, I'm happy to use it on noddy sites for messing about. I just don't trust it yet for important or personal interest web sites!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Pint

        Re: Same here

        I'm guessing that a fresh installation of Chrome is faster than an ageing installation of Firefox.

        I'd also guess that many Firefox users are still using a browser profile first created a few years ago.

        I'm guessing too that the aforementioned profile has dozens of extensions running and the detritus of quite a few more that are no longer in use.

        I do know that a fresh install of Firefox without extensions runs very quickly indeed.

        Oh, and I trust Mozilla. I don't trust Google.

        Beer icon because in the browser world there is such a thing as a free beer and it has Firefox on the label.

      2. Jason 24
        Paris Hilton

        "although I still use FF for important or, ahem, photographic interest sites!"

        ctrl+shift+n is your friend in chrome ;)

        Paris :D

  7. fixit_f
    Thumb Up

    Petty infighting between browser enthusiasts aside....

    Whether you trust google with your browsing experience or not, at least the general public seem to be getting the idea that they have a choice now. And that can only be a good thing,

    1. Steven Roper
      Go

      I agree with you

      That is indeed a good thing. I just wish Google didn't feel the need to behave like the Russian botnet Mafia in distributing it. Their existing marketing machine should have been sufficient.

  8. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Count me in. I just wish it wouldn't sometimes grab all the CPU on my laptop. It stops my mouse pad responding for over a second sometimes when a page loads. I'm still not sure what causes it.

  9. The BigYin

    Not too worried...

    ...so long as the browsers are standards compliant. So that really means anything but IE.

    With a compliant browser, it should all render/behave the same and if it doesn't, that's a bug that should be reported not a "feature".

  10. Wild Bill
    Trollface

    INB4 the Opera fanboys!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just like

    the most popular car in history is the Toyoya Corolla, it certainly does not make it the best.

    Browser marketshare is not a measure of anything useful, basically how much money has to promote their product. That's why the companies with the most money have the most popular browsers. Consumers are idiots, they only use what the television on internet tells them to use.

    Me, I use the BEST products, not the POPULAR products, that's why I drive an Audio R8 and use Opera Browser.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      R8 *smirk*

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      quick reg buy some new servers...

      ... we need more space for the OPs ego.

    3. Silverburn
      Facepalm

      R8

      An Audio R8?

      Is that the chinese rip-off copy of an Audi R8? And you use the best products you say? Indeed...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RIP Corolla

      I recently "buried" my 1984 TwinCam Corolla - best car I have ever owned.

      The Corolla was itchin in the 80s :)

      1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        Must say my AE86 was a pretty spanking car.

        However the idea that an R8 is the best car on the road seems a bit strange. It's pretty effective, but it is without doubt the dullest supercar on the road today. Only Audi could build a supercar and take the excitement out of it, they've even managed to remove a lot of the character from all but a small number of Lambos.

        If you want a supercar and crave German reliability then it has to be a 911, a GT3 for the best balance of insanity against practicality. But if it's the best drivers car you're after then it still has to come with a prancing horse on the nose.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      An R8?

      That's even worse than admitting you own an iPhone in these forums!

  12. n4blue
    Windows

    Don't assume the trend will continue

    I switched to Chrome from Firefox several years ago because FF was getting so damned slow to start up. I missed all my favourite add-ins but the speed made up for it. I originally started using FF because IE6/7 was so awful.

    I keep IE on my machine as I need to use Sharepoint and MSDN, otherwise it would be long gone.

    However, Chrome doesn't seem as fast as it used to be and actually IE9 seems quicker now, so I may go full circle back to the beast.

    1. El Andy
      Go

      things change...

      Got to agree, I tried Firefox 7 and it's like trying to browse through treacle. Even old versions of IE weren't that slow (and this machine is a quad core i7 with 16GB ram, so it's not exactly low spec). I never got on with Chrome, too many weird UI decisions.

      IE9 is proving to be a far better browser for daily use and old arguments about it lagging behind in terms of standards compliance just don't stand up anymore. Who would have guessed?

  13. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    "...users who never change..."

    "It seems that Internet Explorer is likely to retain its lead because of the static number of enterprise users who *can't* change their browser from their BOFHs' default."

    There, fixed that for you.

  14. Tim Walker
    Linux

    Chromium

    Whilst I'm generally a Firefox user by choice, I plumped for Chromium when choosing apps for the Arch Linux setup on my Eee 701SD netbook.

    The initial reason, ironically, was the small amount of "chrome" (menus, buttons, etc.) in the browser window - an important consideration on an 800x480 display - but I also found that Chromium runs very quickly on what is a pretty low-specced machine. I've bound Chromium to a Fluxbox key combination (Ctrl-Alt-W); it's ready for use within 2-3 seconds, and can handle just about any site, within the constraints of the viewport size.

    Not so long ago, if you wanted a lean but fully-functional Web browser for a Linux distro aimed at old/low-powered PCs, you were largely out of luck (Firefox too bloated, Dillo too primitive, etc.). Chromium makes a great alternative if you need the "performance without the pork" - just need to check it's not "phoning the Chocolate Factory"...

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Totally agree re:Chomium/Chrome on the 701 (especially with the "No Scroll Bars Please" extension).

      You might also want to try the Midori browser - it's more advanced than Dillo but lighter than FF.

      1. Tim Walker

        Thanks for the tip :-)

        I'm vaguely aware of Midori by name, but haven't tried it - I noted that it is often associated with the Xfce desktop environment, and as I use a few other Xfce apps on my Eee, I think I'll give it a try.

        Nice to see a choice in the "lean browser" stakes, anyway :-)

  15. Jas 1

    Ctrl-Tab in MRU

    is the main blocker for me switching to Chrome.

    FF my current first choice, Oper and Chrome come in a joint second.

    Opera used to be my first choice, but FF with a few plugins, works nicely, and seems to cope with some websites better than opera. (gmail in opera requires a full page refresh to get it working if it's been left for over an hour, works fine in FF)

    1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      If you chose gmail then your choice of webmail service is obviously flawed. It follows therefore that there must be some doubt about your browser choice.

  16. taysider
    Thumb Up

    Firefox dumped

    When running FF5 I have very little trouble. Then FF6 came along and screwed it up. Sorted it out then FF7.1 comes along and does the same again. Dumped it.

    I need to run two browsers, Chrome on one and now have Chromium on the other. No problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly my situation too, just when I had got my plugins working with FF6, FF7 comes out and breaks them all again. Browser manufacturers need to realise that these days, the plugins can be more important than the browser itself. If my plugins don't work in browser X, I move to browser Y.

      1. Figgus
        Joke

        I can't wait to see how FF314 works, we should see it by Q4 next year...

        1. Grease Monkey Silver badge

          The whole issue of FF upgrades breaking your plugins didn't used to be much of an issue. Yes it was there, but major version upgrades didn't happen often so it was something I could live with. Now they seem to be bunging out a major version upgrade every other week it has become a major issue. I have found that some major and popular plugins had hardly started working on one version before the next FF upgrade came along. An awful lot of FF fanbois are trying to blame the plugin providers for this, but since it's happening with a lot of plugins it seems that it's Mozilla who are to blame. They just aren't giving sufficient notice of the upgrades to the plugin authors.

          Way to alienate your user base guys.

          I had heard it suggested that FF were desperately banging out version upgrades in order to try to catch up with the version number of Chrome, in the belief that some users are chosing Chrome because it has a higher version number. I doubt that this is true simply because I don't think anybody is stupid enough to think like that. If they did then Opera would be more popular than it is. But the main reason this is nonsense is that Google do not make an issue about the version of Chrome, indeed you have to dig to find what version of Chrome you are running.

          Mozilla OTOH do make a big deal about version numbers. The reason for this is that Mozilla are aiming their browser at geeks. Google OTOH are aiming their browser at ordinary Joes and Josephines. And therein lies Mozilla's problem. There has been a massive shift in the browser market in recent years. A few years ago the majority of people choosing a browser were geeks. These days however the majority of people actually making a choice (rather than sticking with the OS default) are ordinary folk. They probably choose Chrome because Google is a name they know and trust*. You choose all sorts of products on that basis. Most people choose their car, washing machine or TV on that basis. Most people either go for the cheapest or for a brand they know and trust. Few people actually make a careful and informed descision.

          So all you FF fanbois shouting about this calm down. This doesn't say which browser is best, just which is most common. Just like the pop charts tell you who's sold the most songs rather than which song is best.

          * Gawd knows why they trust it.

  17. cloudgazer

    From a web development perspective what really matters is that the Webkit browsers, which include Chrome, are slowly consolidating share and driving the IE monster out.

  18. firu toddo
    Alert

    Nights at the Opera

    No surprises then.

    Chrome is fast and slick, FIrefox isn't. IE has a very patchy past, Chrome and Firefox less so. Safari is the mobile browser of (Apples) choice, iPad/iPhone. And Opera is like the relative no one talks to but everyone has heard about.

    And it will probably continue the same way unless Firefox gets it's collective finger out or Opera & IE get rehabilitated in the publics mind.

    Part of my job is compatibility testing. I use Opera, IE, Safari, Chrome and FIrefox to test sites and web apps and in reality there are no really bad browsers anymore. Trouble is Firefox has been getting progressively worse over the last 2 years.

    Each new version seems to introduce new problems without fixing the old ones. Firefox on Mac and Windows has become what IE used to be, slow, bloated and buggy with slow rendering, stuttering performance, memory leaks, lock ups and slow loading.

    So what to use? Personally I don't entirely trust the Chocolate factory to do no evil (let alone not track my web movements) so Opera on the Mac and IE on Windows it is.

    (Seeing that in writing makes me want a shower!)

  19. LPF
    Thumb Down

    Maybe

    Becuase gogole checks to see what your default browser is, and every time you go to google .com shows the download chrome advert , very annoying, how many people simple just gave in

  20. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Firefox has many add-ons that appeal: Chrome can be a pain

    Chrome doesn't provide enough user controls and those it does, don't always play along. Chrome allows you to choose your search engine unless you want to use a different Google from that of the country you are in. Then it overrides you.

    I like filtering script/adverts - great with FF, impossible with Chrome.

    The biggest thing against Chrome is that you don't know/can't control what Google is doing with all the data that it collects so I use Chrome for my routine, non-revealing activities and FF + Opera for the rest.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    So now we finally know why MS suddenly started nuking Chrome out of the blue ;-)

  22. JDX Gold badge

    IE% by windows version

    I'd be interested to know how things vary between XP and Vista/W7 - the latter have the option to use a decent IE browser so those platforms there must be a proportion of discerning, educated users who _choose_ IE9 as their preferred browser. Maybe only a small proportion, but with IE9 (and 10) the decision to install another browser is less compelling, simply because 9 is far better than 7 or 8.

    MS don't need a better browser than FF/Chrome to remain #1, just one that is close enough most people can't see the point changing.

    1. Mike Dimmick

      Special reports

      NetMarketshare does occasional special reports on topics that interest them. They've been doing reports of browser share on Windows 7 - here's this month's:

      http://www.netmarketshare.com/2011/10/01/Microsoft-s-Strategy-With-Internet-Explorer-9

      IE9 already has more users on Windows 7 than Chrome or Firefox.

      IE9 reaching 8.72% overall desktop usage share - surpassing IE 6.0 this month - when it only runs on OS versions with 41.5% share, is pretty impressive really.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FF upgrade express

    It may be subjective, but for once I'd like to start FF without having to do an upgrade first. Seems like it's continually updating itself.

    Much as I appreciate the efforts to improve performance, stability and security, it does begin to grate a little when a 30 second web-lookup or browser-test of a new site page ends up taking 5 minutes or more.

  24. Dirk Vandenheuvel
    Mushroom

    Browsers? Lol.. so 1990s.

  25. llewton

    "IE, meanwhile, was at 41.7 percent"

    oh, the humanity.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The catch up game

    I'm wondering exactly what the Firefox team are up to?

    I point you toward:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Firefox

    In the last 3 months, we've had 5,6 & 7 and this trend is set to continue, with 10 being released in January 2012.

    It seems the version numbers are now completely pointless, with such a rapid release cycle.

    Certainly Chrome doesn't bother with them - at least, not from a marketing perspective.

    It's just 'Chrome' - yet Firefox continue to punt the version numbers on their site.

    In fact, when you compare the chrome website with the firefox one, you'll note just how low key chrome is in terms of marketing:

    http://www.google.com/chrome/

    Compared with:

    http://www.mozilla.org/firefox

    The fact is, they are both very capable browsers, however, in terms of speed and stability, from my perspective, Chrome wins.

    After over 8 years with firefox (starting with phoenix, september 2002), I switched to chrome six months back.

    Firefox went downhill after 3.6 and although 7 is an improvement over just how sluggish the browser became since 3.6, it's just too little, too late.

    I continue to use firefox for development purposes, as it has numerous extensions I've become familiar with over the years, but as a day to day browsing experience, sorry Firefox, you got too fat and slow.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meh ...

    Chromium on Linux is good, Chrome on OS X is quite different being slow and buggy. Just can't take to it. Opera is fast and fab on OS X -- in comparison to either FF or Chrome. Plus it has stackable tabs which are hard to live without once you've got used to them.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought it was Firefox, Chrome, IE, Opera. So Firefox is no. 1 and Chrome is already no. 2. Greets

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox has been crashing a lot lately for me. I might give Chrome another chance.

  30. bg2b
    Unhappy

    Is there a sidebar in Chrome yet?

    If Chrome has a bookmarks sidebar like FF, I'll switch immediately. Someone please tell me that they've finally added one...

  31. Danvighar
    Windows

    browser wars...

    I find Firefox 7 to be a big improvement. And while I presume Chrome has 'em, I really really like tab groups.

    I've had... not zero, but damned near zero issues with my plugins for the last several iterations of Firefox.

    Still looking forward to 64-bit, though...

  32. JDX Gold badge

    On OSX, Chrome has replaced Safari as my default browser - never tried Opera - due to the fact it is faster and shares my bookmarks/data across all my PCS.

    I gave up on FF ages ago - it is by far the clunkiest browser - even IE8 seems more responsive - on my PCs. On my main development PC, I permanently have Chrome open on one monitor and IE9 on the right... Chrome has been my main browser for a year or more and I just updated to IE9 to test it, but was pleasantly surprised how good it is. I don't see serious differences in terms of usability or general slickness, the lack of addons is annoying but I don't spend most of my time on sites with Flash-crammed sites anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually ...

      "On OSX, Chrome has replaced Safari as my default browser - never tried Opera - due to the fact it is faster and shares my bookmarks/data across all my PCS."

      So does Opera. Bookmarks, Notes, etc ... all available on all my computers (Linux, OS X and Windows) using Opera Link.

  33. Goat Jam

    The Thing That Keeps Me Off Chrome

    is that XMarks totally sucks on it. I realise that this is the fault of the folks at XMarks but to this day there is no "cloud" based bookmark sync service with cross-browser support so I'm stuck with FF

  34. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    "And Opera is like the relative no one talks to but everyone has heard about."

    Opera's major problem is that a lot of people think you have to pay for it. Even people who really should know better.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I moved back to Firefox from Chrome recently

    as I found Chrome (despite its multiple processes) to be even worse at one slow-loading page freezing the entire program.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK

    If you change the country to UK, apparently the switch has already happened.

    We're ahead of the curve!

  37. philbo
    Joke

    "Becoming number two"

    ..does that mean it's shit?

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