My God, does ANYONE use Internet Explorer?

You might think almost no one after looking at results so far to Betanews poll: "Which is your primary web browser?" Only 9.88 percent of respondents answer some version of Internet Explorer, while 50.01 percent choose Chrome. These results could change dramatically, particularly if a fanboy war erupts or simply thousands of IE-loving Microsoft employees take the poll. But for now, the (currently) 1,812 respondents hugely favor Chrome. I'm shocked.

Betanews readership tends to be highly technical, with tech enthusiasts, IT managers and Windows fans core among them. So I expected early poll results to skew towards Internet Explorer. Instead, Chrome 14, which only released about two weeks ago, locked 35 percent in early polling and has stayed there since. Who are these people using Chrome?

I first posted the poll yesterday, concurrent with a story about Net Applications releasing browser usage share data on October 1. Firefox and Internet Explorer both declined (again) -- 22.48 percent and 54.39 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Chrome continued a longstanding trend of gains, with 16.2 percent usage share. That's in three years from nothing. Google certified Chrome 1.0 in December 2008.

Chrome 14's showing surprises, but there is another one. Among respondents, 35.6 percent use v14 as their primary browser. But get this: 12.31 percent -- or more than all IE versions combined -- are using a developer build, v15 or higher.

Firefox also beat out Internet Explorer -- 30.24 percent use FF as their primary browser. Firefox 7, which only released last week, is 21.31 percent. By comparison, 8.77 percent of respondents use IE9 as primary browser.

The poll's findings have merit and then not. There is no qualifying question for a poll of this kind, nothing to filter respondents by, say, profession or technical proficiency. So there's no way to ascertain who is responding. I presume that, based on what we know about Betanews readership, the respondents are more likely to be early adopters. That's the poll's shortcoming. As for its main merit, the poll compels a choice. Many people use more than one browser. So which is more important. For one-half of respondents, that's some version of Chrome.

Betanews commenters express enthusiasm for Chrome, too. "I love Google Chrome", Prasoon Singh writes. "Firefox 4 is ugly and slow on Mac OS X and they're not doing anything about it". Tyler Melton: "I had to give up on Firefox as well. When Firefox 5 and 6 arrived with the same add-on breakage problems that I had to deal with on the old development cycle, only now more frequently and the every present memory leakage was still there I finally said enough is enough".

Roger Schneier writes that "Chrome runs quickly and smoothly on my Asus netbook, while Firefox (which used to be a big favorite of mine) and Internet Explorer are much slower to load and run. In particular with Firefox it's hard to get the cursor to go where I want it".

"Chrome already is the most popular browser in several countries", Mesut comments. "For a world map of most popular browser by country check www.browserrank.com".

For others, Google's browser isn't good enough. "I left Chrome because I do a lot of work with photographs and the colors are not correct", comments Ryan (aka The City Cyclist). "For some reason they appear darker then what they should. It doesn't happen with any other browser, and happens on both my PC's and in both Windows & Linux. If Google fixes this then maybe I'll head back, but until then I use mostly Firefox (currently 7)".

Strangely, or it seems to me, there was in yesterday's post on the NetApps numbers few comments about Internet Explorer. It's still the top browser by overall usage, according to NetApps. So I have to ask: Are there no IE defenders. I really would like to hear from you.

Photo Credit: Microsoft

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