The browser wars continue with Google Chrome 15 grabbing the number one spot, replacing Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 as the most popular in the world, according to StatCounter.

On Wednesday, the Web analytics research firm reported Chrome (version 15) as having secured 23.6 percent of the global market during the last week of November, exceeding IE8, which held 23.5 per cent.

Although the margin is relatively small, the fact of leadership is huge news for Google, who have only recently entered the browser market (Chrome was launched in 2008), compared to Microsoft's 16-year hold (Internet Explorer 1 was launched in 1995).

The statistics pertaining to browser usage are divided into two periods -- those used over the weekends (presumably at home) and those used over the 5-day working week (presumably at office). According to the StatCounter report, this is the first time that Chrome (specifically, version 15) has registered more use over the working week than Internet Explorer (specifically, IE8).

Google announced Chrome for business exactly a year ago and IT administrators appear to have embraced it in a remarkably short time, Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, said. It looks as if people favor Chrome on weekends at home, but office commercial use has now caught up, he added.

Unfortunately for Chrome 15, it may not retain its top spot for very long, with many users of the browser expected to migrate to Chrome 16. This may prove a problem for many others, considering the newest version boasts multi-user and Cloud Print features. However, following news that Microsoft intends to start phased automatic upgrades of IE8 to Internet Explorer 9, they may stand a chance of recapturing the number one position.

Meanwhile, the report also indicates that while a specific version of the Chrome browser leads the charts, the combined numbers of users of different versions of IE allows it to lead the more general global browser market, followed by Chrome and Mozilla.

At the end of the day, however, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are indubitably the most popular browsers in the world. As of November 2011, StatCounter reports suggest that three account for 91.42 percent of the global desktop market, leaving browsers like Opera, Safari and other Android-based software well and truly in their wake.