Google's Chrome overtook Mozilla Firefox in July to become Britain's second-most popular Web browser after Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Web analytics firm StatCounter said on Monday.

Chrome, launched in December 2008, took 22.1 percent of the UK market, up from 12 percent a year earlier. Internet Explorer's share fell to 46 percent from 55 percent a year ago, while Firefox fell to 21.6 percent from 25.

Google is trying to convert its dominance in Web search into operating systems and mobile software, bringing it into direct competition with Microsoft. Chrome is used by more than 160 million users worldwide.

In May, Google launched its long-awaited Chromebook, which runs entirely on software accessed via the Internet rather than installed on the machine.

Globally, Internet Explorer had 42 percent of the browser market in July, followed by Firefox with 28 percent and Chrome with 22. Apple's Safari brower had 5 percent of the market, while Opera had 2 percent.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by David Hulmes)