Google's Chrome Web browser continued to gain market share through the first month of 2010, garnering 5.2 percent of the worldwide browser market, up from 4.63 percent in December 2009.
This new data comes from researcher Net Applications:
While Chrome share gains have in the past seemed to come at the expense of Microsoft Internet Explorer, it appears Mozilla's Firefox may have felt the pinch from Chrome's growing popularity. Firefox dipped a bit from 24.61 percent in December to 24.41 percent in January.
Leader IE's share continues to drop, sitting at 62.18 percent from 62.69 percent in December. Here are the December stats:
Chrome passed Safari for the first time in December, no doubt thanks to the emergence of Chrome for Mac and Linux Dec. 8 (Chrome for Windows has been available since 2008).
Safari still gained share the last couple months and is now at 4.51 percent. It's a good guess Mac lovers will stick with Safari unless they try Chrome and come away impressed.
But consider this: Chrome has gained two whole percentage points since September, when Net Applications pegged it at 3.17 percent. Two percentage points in five months is not bad at all.
At that growth rate, we may well see Chrome hitting 10 percent market share by this time in 2011.
Here's another thing to consider. Netbooks based on Chrome Operating System are expected to hit the market by at least December 2010 from Google partners such as HP, Asus and Acer.
If this schedule holds true, you can expect Chrome to be front and center on these Chrome OS netbooks. If people buy them for the holiday season and stay with Chrome instead of opting for Firefox or IE, Chrome's market share may be even greater.
That will be an interesting phenomenon, particularly if IE and Firefox continue to lose share. Imagine a Chrome versus Safari world, adding another log on the Google versus Apple fire, which is burning ever brighter.