Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chrome Web browser could crack 20 percent market share by the new year if it keeps up its current growth pace.
Chrome, which through the benefit of accelerated release cycles every six weeks is somewhere between versions 14 and 15, had 16.2 percent market share through September, according to Net Applications.
That's up from 15.5 percent through August. Google CEO Larry Page said at the company's Zeitgeist conference last month that Chrome has about 160 million users worldwide in just its third year of existence.
Google has been advertising Chrome on TV and hopes its new Chrome Zone Chromebook in retail stores in London helps boost Chrome browser adoption.
Chrome's growth was second only to that of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Safari browser, which rose to 5 percent share from 4.6 percent share in August.
Chrome and Safari appeared to take whole percentage points from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. IE fell to 54.4 percent from 55.3 percent, while Firefox dipped to 22.5 percent from 23.6 percent.
Market share is markedly different for the mobile browser segment, which Net Applications began counting separately last month after acknowledging the "combination of mobile and tablet usage has continued to rise dramatically."
There Safari, on the strength of its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, had a 55.6 percent share for September, up from 53 percent in August.
Opera Mini fell to 18.9 percent from 20.8 percent. Google's Android browser rose to 16 percent from 15.7 percent for the month. Symbian dropped to 4.7 percent from 5.8 percent, while RIM dropped to 2.7 percent share from 2.9 percent.
Meanwhile, StatCounter has more liberal estimates for Chrome. The researcher, which pegs Chrome at 23.6 percent share, said Chrome will overtake Firefox as the second most popular Web browser by December of this year.