For as long as I have been checking statistics for websites, which is over 15 years now, Internet Explorer has always been the most used browser worldwide, without exception. In fact maybe 7-8 years ago I would estimate it had well over 90% of the market share.
In recent years, several competitors have come along, Firefox & Chrome in particular. Of course Safari has always featured because of the Apple following, however the champion of the ages has always been Internet Explorer (even with all the flak it received over the years because of its interpretations of internet standards, particularly CSS). That is until now.
The game is up. Their rule is over. The monopoly has ended.
For the first time in my professional career there is a new king of the hill, a new champion of the ages and that is Google Chrome!!!
Following are the statistics from Google Analytics for one of my websites (www.slang.ie – Irish Slang Dictionary) from this morning, the 19th of April 2012.
Slang.ie yields a good sample set because of it’s generic nature. Most people find the site through search and come from various devices and locations (approximately 50% from Ireland).
As you can see from the Pie Chart above, Internet Explorer has fallen to second place behind Chrome which now has a significant 27% market share.
Internet Explorer is only marginally ahead of Safari (which is available on ipods, iphones, imacs, macbooks etc. etc.), by less than 1%
Firefox comes in next at almost 16%, which is 6% lower than Safari and this is followed by Android browsers significantly lower at 5.42%.
Compare this with the same period 3 years ago:
As you can see from the above Internet Explorer and Firefox are the biggest losers with IE down a whopping 50% from 48% of the total to 24% with Safari and Chrome gaining most significantly up almost 300% and 250% respectively. Based on this growth it may not be long before Safari is top dog???
I can’t really stress enough the significance of these changes, we finally have a competitive browser market with some really fantastic alternatives. From a consumer point of view this is very advantageous, because it means these companies will duke it out to provide the best features possible which will result in better security, more efficient downloading, faster browser experience, less bugs and so on.
Which browser do I use? To be honest, all of them. As a web developer I need to test clients websites on as many browsers as possible including mobile browsers.
My current favourite, probably due to habit at this point is firefox. The reason I like this is down to a tool called firebug which allows me to analyse html and css quickly. Similar tools are available on the other browsers and I do use them but I’m comfortable with firebug. My biggest gripe with Firefox is that it can eat up memory but again that’s probably down to me being lazy and having 50 tabs open at any given moment.
I do use Google Chrome quite a lot, it’s very clean, which is great for screenshots of websites and it also does not have separate input box for inputting search terms and urls, which makes a lot of sense. My favourite feature is the incognito search because it allows me to perform searches without it knowing anything about my preferences so that I can get a true indication of a websites position on the search engine results page (SERP).
Obviously on apple devices I use Safari, I’d be lost without it on the iPhone. I am not currently a macbook or imac owner so I can’t offer much comment on Safari’s features on desktop computers however.
So which browser will win out in the end?
I guess Google have a nice way of promoting their browser across all devices so if they do produce chrome for all the devices out there they should continue with their trend of market dominance in this area, however don’t count out the others, it’s all to play for at this point.
About the author: Cian Foley is a web developer based in Waterford Ireland, having worked in Telecommunications research for 10 years, Cian brings highly technical knowledge to local businesses wishing to build an online presence. Cian currently runs the UTD Web Design Agency.