Google Chrome blazes past Firefox

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Chrome's market share rises

Google Chrome has overtaken Mozilla's Firefox for the first time, becoming the world's second most popular internet browser. It is already the fastest-growing browser in history.

Web traffic analysis service StatCounter released figures at the start of December 2011 showing that use of Chrome had risen to a share of 25.7 per cent in the global market, edging above Firefox to come second to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which still holds first place at 40.6 per cent.

The popularity of the latter has been falling since the launch of Chrome in 2008, while Firefox has wavered between plateaus and incremental changes, currently holding a share of 25.2 per cent - approximately the same as three years ago.

Chrome is considerably more popular than both other leading browsers in South American nations, despite being less so in North America and Europe.

Garry Przyklenk of online publication Search Engine Watch has described Microsoft's product as a 'sinking ship', noting: "The masses seem to be abandoning Internet Explorer in favour of alternatives."

Speed is popular

Przyklenk also examined changes to Firefox which he feels are to blame for its stuttering fortunes, citing excessive version updates, poor support for add-ons and compatibility problems.

Chrome has been the UK's second most popular browser since August, but Internet Explorer still has a significant lead. In the US, Chrome has only a 17.3 per cent share of the market, with Internet Explorer holding on to a massive 50 per cent.

Google has always marketed Chrome's software speed as its chief selling point, appealing to users frustrated with the slow operation and complex features associated with Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "Many people have switched over to Chrome due to its straightforward design. However, familiarity also holds a huge amount of appeal for web users, especially those who are not technically minded. It may be a long time before Chrome manages to draw such people away from the comfortable ground of IE."

All three leading browsers - along with alternatives Safari and Opera - are now keen to establish HTML5 compatibility, giving users more flexibility to include videos and other media within their web pages.