Chrome grabs 1% of browser market in under 24 hours

Users flock to Google's browser; it's unclear what they're ditching

Google Inc.'s new Chrome browser grabbed 1% of the browser market in its first day out in public, Web metrics providers said today.

Both U.S.-based tracking company Net Applications Inc. and Irish vendor StatCounter put Chrome's total market share at around 1%, less than 24 hours after the browser's launch, passing rivals such as Opera and Netscape in the process.

"This is a phenomenal performance," said CEO Aodhan Cullen, in a post to StatCounter's blog today. StatCounter, which provides free visitor statistics tools to Web developers, monitors traffic on the sites run by its 1.5 million members.

Net Applications also tracked Chrome's debut and echoed StatCounter's numbers. "We saw them peak at 1.48% last night, and they're hovering around 1% currently," said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of marketing at Net Applications, in an e-mail this morning.

According to Net Applications, which is tracking Chrome's hourly numbers, Google's browser jumped from zero to 0.4% during the hour it was released yesterday. Nine hours later, at midnight EDT, Chrome accounted for 1% of the browsers used to visit the 40,000 or so sites that the company monitors for clients.

As Vizzaccaro noted, Chrome peaked at 1.48% early today -- at 4 a.m. EDT, 1 a.m. PDT -- and as of 11 a.m. EDT held a 0.98% market share.

"I'm certain usage will increase at night and on weekends, as companies won't want people testing Chrome at work," Vizzaccaro said.

Net Applications typically sees the same cyclic behavior from Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox, which jumps in share on weekends and during off-work hours.

Vizzaccaro wouldn't speculate on which browsers Google Chrome's users may be leaving. "We won't know that for a couple of weeks, as most people will test it alongside of their normal browser for a while," he said.

With 1% of the market, Chrome immediately overtakes Opera Software ASA's Opera, which Net Applications pegged with a 0.74% share at the end of August, as well as the moribund Netscape, which the company said accounted for 0.72% of all browsers used last month.

AOL LLC, Netscape's owner, killed it last February when it issued the venerable browser's last update and urged users to switch to Firefox or Flock.

Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer held 72.2% of the browser market last month, said Net Applications earlier this week, while Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox and Apple Inc.'s Safari owned 19.2% and 6.4%, respectively.

Google launched Chrome Tuesday at around 3 p.m. EDT. Currently, a version for Windows XP and Vista is the only one available for download. Chrome, which is built on the WebKit rendering engine -- the same open-source code used by Apple Inc.'s Safari -- features a privacy mode, and a combination address-and-search bar, and runs each tab as a separate process to prevent a single site from crashing the entire browser.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)

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