Well THAT was quick. Just six months after Google Chrome eclipsed Mozilla's Firefox to become the world's second most popular Web browser, Chrome finally surpassed Microsoft's Internet Explorer on Sunday to become the most-used Web browser in the world, according to Statcounter.
Internet Explorer's global market share has been steadily decreasing since May 2011, dropping from about 43.9 percent to 31.4 percent of all worldwide users. In that time, Google Chrome has continued to climb from below 20 percent (19.6 percent, really) to nearly 32 percent of the market share. The current trends suggests Chrome usage will only increase while Internet Explorer will continue its decline.
Even though Chrome is now the No. 1 browser in the world, it still lags behind Internet Explorer here in the U.S. However, it looks like that, too, will change. Internet Explorer had previously hovered between 45 and 47 percent of the U.S. market share until February 2012, when Internet Explorer usage suddenly dropped below 40 percent. In the last few weeks alone, Internet Explorer usage has tanked from 37.8 percent of the share to just 30.9 percent; meanwhile, in that same time frame, Google Chrome jumped from 23.8 percent to 27.1 percent of the market share. Based on the trends, it looks like Chrome could overtake Internet Explorer here in the U.S. by the end of June.
It seems the only countries seeing more use of Internet Explorer, interestingly enough, are in Asia and South America. Internet Explorer owns more than 50 percent of the share in Japan, but in China, Microsoft's browser has an unbelievable 72.3 percent of the market share. However, Internet Explorer usage is slowly trickling away to Chrome: This time last year, IE had 86.9 percent of the market share, while Chrome usage has jumped from 4.8 percent to 13.5 percent of China's market share.
Internet Explorer has taken a hit from not being available on smartphones or tablets, with its share dipping below 50 percent for the first time in November. Meanwhile, Apple's Safari browser picked up a lot of the slack, claiming 62.2 percent of mobile traffic thanks to its status as the default browser for the popular iPhone and iPad devices. Chrome would receive a big mobile boost if it were ported to Google's Android devices.
As far as search engines go, Google owns a whopping 92 percent of the global search engine market, while the next biggest engine, Microsoft's Bing, only accounts for less than 4 percent. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., is also under investigation by the Justice Department and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission because of its scope.
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