Google’s Chrome web browser just passed IE to become the most-used browser in the world.
Although Chrome has edged out IE before for short periods, the last week marks the first time Chrome was the No. 1 browser for a sustained period of one week. Exactly 31.88% of the world’s web traffic was done on Chrome, according to StatCounter, while IE is a close second at 31.47%.
The difference is slight. IE is still the top browser in many regions, including North America, but Chrome is extremely popular in both India and South America — the latter being a region where Google’s Orkut social network also has significant market share.
IE is still king in most other regions, though, for obvious reasons: It’s the default web browser for Windows machines, which still constitute about 90% of the world’s computers. Tech-savvy Internet users tend to prefer Chrome, however, due to its minimal user interface and loading speed.
The browser trends are expected to continue at least until the general release of Internet Explorer 10 later this year. IE10 is tied to the launch of Windows 8, and it may introduce a wild card into the browser game.
While the desktop version of Windows 8 will support third-party browsers just like Windows has in the past, there’s some question whether certain Windows tablets will limit their functionality, in effect forcing users toward using IE10 if they want the abilities of a full web browser.
While StatCounter’s numbers, which are based on page-view data on 3 million websites, are often seen as a reliable barometer on browser popularity, other services that look at unique visitors to determine market share tell a different story. The most recent numbers from Net Applications, for example, show IE with a commanding lead of 54% to Chrome’s 19%. Mozilla Firefox is slightly more popular, at 20%.
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