Google Chrome Edges Out Internet Explorer for First Time

Google Chrome, which became available on Android devices in February, became the world's most-used Internet browser for a week in May. In the U.S., however, Internet Explorer still dominates.

Google€™s Chrome squeaked ahead of Microsoft€™s Internet Explorer for the full week of May 14 through 20, making it the world€™s most popular browser for a full week for the first time, according to data from StatCounter, The Verge first reported May 21.

The two Internet browsers have been set on a crash course for some time. StatCounter€™s graphing shows the usership of the two creating a near-perfect sideways V since at least May 2011, with IE on a slow downgrade, Chrome a seemingly equally matched upgrade and the bottom points finally touching and continuing their paths at the 32 percent mark.

While Firefox has dipped from nearly 30 percent in January€”at which time IE was nearer to 45 percent and Chrome to nearly 20 percent€”Firefox, Safari and Opera have more or less all held steady since January: Firefox near the 24 percent mark, Safari around 7 percent and Opera nearer to 1 percent. IE and Chrome, meanwhile, spent those months headed for their intersection.

Meanwhile, Chrome, on March 18, enjoyed a career high, becoming the world€™s top browser for the time, albeit for a day. Contributing significantly, said StatCounter, were Internet users in India, Russia and Brazil.

€œWhile it is only one day, this is a milestone,€ Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCenter, said in a March 21 statement.

€œWhether Chrome can take the lead in the browser wars in the long term remains to be seen,€ Cullen added, €œhowever, the trend towards Chrome usage at the weekends is undeniable. At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to IE.€

Regions posing a particular challenge for Chrome, Cullen noted, include China, the United States and Germany, where it remains in second or third place.

In February, Google introduced Chrome for Android-running devices, which no doubt helped its cause. According to a May 16 report from Gartner, devices running Google€™s Android OS accounted for more than 56 percent of the smartphones that shipped during the first quarter.

Google has spent a good amount of time and money patching up and optimizing Chrome. In September 2011, it spent more than $14,000 patching up Chrome 14, and in October, for Chrome 15, broke the record for a payout to fix security flaws by ponying up more than $26,000.

In an early 2012 blog post constituting an annual review, CEO Larry Page underlined the success of a product that at first seemed unnecessary to some.

€œIn 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has over 200 million users and is growing fast, thanks to its speed, simplicity and security,€ he wrote. €œIf you don€™t use Chrome, just try it out, you€™ll never go back!€

During Google€™s first-quarter earnings call, Page again offered Chrome as an example of a product that seemed crazy at first but now has €œphenomenal usage€ and easily passes the €œtoothbrush test€€”something used once or twice a day.

While Chrome may globally be the new favorite, in the United States it still has a little ways to go before taking the top seat. While IE saw its user base move from approximately 48 percent to 39 percent from January through May, Chrome€™s inched upward from 19 percent to approximately 24 percent, intertwining its results with those of Firefox and finishing the month a point ahead.