Google Chrome should overtake Firefox as the number two browser by mid-2012, and possibly as soon as the end of this year, according to competing Web statistics compaines.

StatCounter has Chrome landing in the number two spot by year's end and Net Applications says Firefox will stay in second place until next year, Computer World reported in a blog post. Both companies use different tools to analyze the traffic, but stats from mobile devices may not be included to determine brower usage.

Internet Explorer is number one and still leads both Firefox and Chrome by more than 10 percentage points. StatCounter has IE in first with 42% of worldwide browser usage, Firefox in second with 28% and Chrome in third with 23%. But since the beginning of the year, Firefox's numbers have been steadily dropping at almost the same rate as Chrome's have been rising.

There's no way to know if Firefox users are definitely trading up for Chrome, but when combined with the number of users IE is losing it equals almost the same number as Chrome has been gaining, Computer World said.

Firefox has taken on a six-week cycle of steady updates that have had trouble actually solving some issues and thus turning people away from it, Mashable reported.

The real question is when would Chrome overtake IE for the number one spot. It's probably more than a year away, so statistics may not be that reliable over such a long time arc. Care to take a guess at when IE could get bounced from the top spot? What browser do you use and for what applications? Let us know in the comments.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - Browser Market Share