Google’s Chrome 15 has moved to the front in browser competition, overtaking Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8). While earlier versions of Internet Explorer still give Redmond the overall lead, the writing is on the wall in regards to its dominance. Does it matter, particularly for IT professionals at small and midsize businesses (SMBs)? Yes, because in this increasingly cloud-oriented era, the browser is arguably the single most important application on your computer. It does much of what the operating system once did. And the browser will remain important even in the age of mobile apps.
The word that Chrome has made it to the lead position comes via Athima Chansanchai at Technolog. An analytics study by Irish firm StatCounter finds that Chrome overtook IE 8 at the end of November. At that point, the Google-sponsored browser commanded 23.6 percent of the global market, compared to 23.5 percent for Microsoft’s browser.
This news does come with two important provisos. The first is that different analytics sources may yield different specific metrics. Many agree on the trend, however, and the trend has been favoring Chrome. The second proviso is that older versions of Microsoft’s browser remain in wide use. Thus, considering all versions taken together, Internet Explorer remains the most widely used browser. Talk of its “free fall” or “downward spiral” is thus premature, but its era of dominance is winding down.
Meanwhile, Chrome has already pushed past Mozilla Firefox, which had long been the leading competitor to Internet Explorer in the world browser market. Mozilla’s hopes of taking the lead in the browser wars have thus far been nixed. The “browser wars” competition does not draw the level of attention it did a decade or so ago. (Remember Netscape Navigator?) At that time, the battle was not just over browsers, but over whether Microsoft would rule the world.
Browsers, however, still matter. You could argue that they matter more than ever in the cloud era. As software moves online, the browser more than the operating system it runs on literally shapes your experience with the cloud applications you access through it. And, for all the talk of mobile devices and an “app-ified” future, enterprise-grade tools still need the roominess and interactive options of a real computer, which for practical purposes means a device that supports a full-function browser.
Thus for business computing, browsers will remain the primary access to the cloud. And Google’s Chrome 15 and successor releases, will increasingly be business users’ access platform of choice.
If you’re reading this on Chrome, you’re part of a wave that has ditched Internet Explorer or Firefox and helped vault Google’s browser to the top Web browser spot worldwide.
We’ve been watching for a while now as reports have shown a consistent rise in Chrome’s popularity. We saw how in one report, it’s already gone past Firefox, knowing it was just a matter of time before it usurped one of the longest reigning dynasties in the browser world, IE.
But wait, there is a caveat to this: Chrome 15 beat IE 8, specifically, this one week at the end of November, with 23.6 percent of the worldwide market, compared to IE 8′s at 23.5 percent. With all the versions of IE floating around, IE is still No. 1 in the world, but Chrome is right behind it.
Ireland-based StatCounter — which posts Web analytics based on aggregate data it collects from a sample exceeding 15 billion pageviews per month (including 4 billion in the U.S.), collected from the StatCounter network of more than 3 million websites — released a statement about Chrome 15′s ascension, humbling the initial enthusiasm of any Google devotee when it also made it clear that in the U.S., reports of IE’s demise are still premature. According to StatCounter, It was still able to capture 27 percent of browser action last week, compared to 18.1 percent for Chrome 15.
Which Web browser are you using?
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Different companies will issue different stats on just how much of a lead IE still has on Chrome, with companies such as NetMarketShare showing IE’s year-long steady free fall, but still at about 52 percent a month ago.
Chrome has made a steady rise as IE declines, but Firefox still stands in its way. But not by much. And by StatCounter’s measure, in the world outside the U.S., Chrome already brushed past Firefox in November, when it wrested the No. 2 spot with 25.69 percent of the worldwide market (up from 4.66 percent in November 2009) compared to Firefox’s 25.23 percent.
Will 2012 be the year that sees the fall of IE everywhere, including the U.S.? Take our poll and let us know which browser you’re using.