Google Chrome Browser Shadows 10% Share Mark

The Google Chrome Web browser finished 2010 just shy of 10 percent, notching 9.98 percent market share. Expect more growth in 2011 with the launch of Chrome OS notebooks.

Google's Chrome Web browser finished 2010 just shy of the 10 percent mark, notching 9.98 percent of browser market share through December in a year where it started at 5.2 percent.

It's also a big hike from November, when Google grabbed 9.27 percent share, up from 8.5 percent in October, according to the latest statistics from market researcher Net Applications.

Chrome's gain came at the expense of market leader Microsoft Internet Explorer, which fell to 57 percent from 58.41 through November. Mozilla Firefox remained static at 22.81 percent. Apple's Safari browser leapt to 5.89 percent from 5.57 percent in November.

Cracking double-digit market share is a big deal for Chrome, which has grown considerably since its September 2008 launch without the benefit of an official platform on which to run.

That's changing in 2011. Google hopes to get the browser on notebooks running its new Chrome Operating System from Samsung, Acer and others by mid-2011.

As the base platform for the Chrome browser, Chrome OS is the search engine's Web-based or cloud operating system. It's an ambitious move to upend the traditional PC model cultivated by Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac computers for the last few decades.

Google had hoped to get Chrome OS machines to the public for the 2010 holiday season. While the company failed in this regard, it did roll out the Cr-48 test notebook Dec. 7.

Google reportedly ordered 60,000 Cr-48s for consumers and business users to test, which could have helped Chrome's growth spurt to nearly 10 percent to close out the year.

Google also launched the Chrome Web Store, a market for free and paid Web apps to run on the Cr-48 and official Chrome OS notebooks later this year.

With Chrome as the de facto browser on Chrome OS machines, 2011 could be another big year for the increasingly popular browser.

eWEEK speculated Chrome could crack 10 percent market share by January 2011 last April, when its share hit 6 percent.