Most of you use Google Chrome

On June 1, Net Applications and StatCounter will release browser usage share for May. But why wait? Ten days ago I asked which is your preferred primary browser. You answered, and Chrome takes the crown, followed by Firefox and Internet Explorer. The days of IE dominance are over. No wonder the European Union is crawling down Google's throat over search.

The poll results are fairly consistent with those from one conducted last year, even though the sample size is smaller, 1,160 as I write. I asked: "Which is your preferred primary web browser, meaning when you can choose it? (For personal computer, not phone or other device.)" The idea is to gauge browser usage based on what people would choose, pushing aside what they might be compelled to use at work. A stunning 46.72 percent of respondents choose Chrome, 25 percent Firefox and 20.4 percent Internet Explorer.

I asked about browser usage because of a May 14-20 StatCounter report that put Chrome global usage share ahead of Internet Explorer -- 32.76 percent to 31.94 percent, respectively. Today during the D10 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Google senior veep Sundar Pichai told veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg: "Our internal data corresponds pretty well with what StatCounter quoted. We are No. 1 or a bare No. 2 in almost all the countries in the world". Chrome is most popular in emerging markets, where in some "our share is over 50 percent there today".

Mossberg asked Pichai about different operating systems. He said that Chrome is "more popular on Windows" because Google launched the browser on the platform first and the Mac later. "But we are seeing the same trends there".

Remember that Internet Explorer is only available for Windows, so Chrome success cuts Microsoft's browser to the quick. The real question: What can Internet Explorer 10 do to recover users and perhaps regain share?

Earlier today, Microsoft issued Windows 8 Release Preview. The new version ships with IE10, which will be the only primary browser on ARM version Windows RT. It's all leverage for regaining lost usage share, assuming there is rapid adoption of either or both operating systems.

Chrome 1.0 shipped in December 2008, making its rise in popularity a simply stunning achievement. The browser benefits from a number of factors, including:

  • Speed -- the browser is fast and reliable.
  • Privacy, such as multiple user accounts for one browser.
  • Security, both perceived (against IE) and real (for Chrome).
  • Leverage from search (Google share is tops in most geographies).
  • Ties to other Google services, such as Google Plus, Gmail or Maps.
  • Web applications that run in the browser, from the cloud rather than desktop.
  • Marketing -- Google is aggressively advertising Chrome, now in TV commercials.
  • Rapid-fire development cycle delivering new features (Chrome 17-19 released this year).
  • Little legacy -- Google doesn't need worry about supporting business users or years of plugins.

"I use Chrome as my main browser, although simultaneously Firefox (Pale Moon version) for web work and IE when I have to check compatablity", charliemaggot comments. "Chrome's add-ons, speed, and flexibility are the main reasons. I still like Firefox and again the add-ons are a huge plus".

It's my experience, particularly Windows, that Chrome demands too much, and charliemaggot aggrees: "Chrome, however, can be a definite hog. Too many tabs with too much session history will eat up resources, and I find myself killing of tabs and restarting the browser to get it back under control. But that is still not big enough to move me off it".

Reader malin makes an important point about Internet Explorer: "The United States is not the only country in the world! In Europe, IE is stripped out of Windows and not the default browser. Also, the French and other Europeans are very suspicious of Microsoft and IE and it is very poorly thought of there". Because of an adverse antitrust ruling on the continent, Microsoft makes available one version of Windows without Internet Explorer.

"Yes, in the US IE will probably always be dominant on desktops and laptops", malin continues. "But in other countries no way. In many European countries IE has been a minority browser for many years, and the only real trend we see in those places is people switching from Firefox to Chrome due to IMO the reliability of Chrome and the inability of Firefox to fix itself when it gets mangled".

"I have tried many of the popular browsers and go back to Chrome because I perceive it to be the fastest, both on my MacBook Pro and my Windows PC", Alan Freeman comments. "It is not bloated like Firefox".

And you? If you haven't taken the poll, please do.

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