Google Chrome Eyes 12% Share as Chrome OS Approaches

Google's Chrome Web browser hovers around the 12 percent mark through March as the company prepares to launch its Chrome operating system on netbooks this summer.

Google's Chrome Web browser notched 11.9 percent market share through April, a modest gain from 11.5 percent through March, according to Net Applications.

Apple's Safari browser share grew to 7.1 percent from 6.6 percent through April. There were no big market share losers for the month, though Chrome appeared to continue to nip at its rivals.

Microsoft Internet Explorer continued to lose share, dipping from 55.9 percent to 55.1 percent for the month. IE 9 has doubled its usage share on the new Windows 7 platform from 3.6 percent last month to 7.5 percent in April. Mozilla Firefox dropped a bit to 21.8 percent from 21.6 percent.

Google's Chrome team is launching a new stable release every few weeks, though it is unclear if this is helping market share.

Google March 22 launched Chrome 11 to its Chrome beta channel with support for the HTML5 speech input API.

The stable version of the browser just revved with 27 new bug fixes, with bug hunters earning $16,500 for their finds as part of the Chrome rewards program.

Chrome has been growing steadily for the last year, though it hasn't enjoyed a full percentage point growth spurt in several months. The browser will be interesting to track once computers based on the Chrome Operating System roll out in June or July as promised.

Chrome OS is Google's lightweight, Web-based operating system, a departure from Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac platforms. Google said Chrome OS would appear on notebooks from Samsung and Acer later this year.

The Neowin blog said Google will sell Chrome OS based notebooks for $10 to $20 per month with Gmail, a subscription model in addition to the traditional one-time purchase plan favored by computer makers and retailers.

Details of Samsung's first Chrome OS netbook surfaced on Google's Chromium Website.

Codenamed Alex, the netbook will be powered by Intel's 1.5GHz Atom N550 CPU and include a display with a resolution of 1280???800 pixels. 3G support, Synaptics TouchPad, WiFi, Ethernet, webcam and Bluetooth are also included.

Alex could surface in presentations at Google's I/O developer conference next week.