Microsoft‘s market share in web browsers — which used to be around 90% — has now slipped below 60%, with Net Applications recording 59.95% for April. And with IE losing 0.7 percentage points over the month, Google’s Chrome browser gained almost all of it: 0.6 percentage points. Firefox and Apple‘s Safari made negligible gains, while Opera actually lost market share.
It wouldn’t be sensible to put too much emphasis on Net Applications’ monthly numbers, which are based on logging access to lots of websites. They’re a good guide to the trends, but the details depend on which sites are monitored. However, in general, Chrome has grown rapidly while other independent alternatives have tended to plateau.
Compared with April last year, Chrome has gained 4.94 points of market share, while Firefox has only gained 0.75 points and Opera 0.26 points. Over the same period, IE has dropped 7.82 points, so Chrome has grabbed almost two-thirds of the share IE has lost.
Google has the huge advantage of advertising its browser on the front of its market-dominating search engine. And with HTML5, Internet Explorer tends to lose even more users to other browsers like Chrome itself, Firefox, Opera and Safari.
Next came integration with Chrome and two technologies for accelerating Web applications, Google’s O3D for 3D graphics, and Native Client software for accelerating general-purpose processing.
But the most ambitious change came with July’s announcement of the open-source Chrome OS operating system. It uses Linux under the covers, but Chrome OS applications all run in the browser. That design today has serious practical limitations, so it’s fitting the first incarnation of Chrome OS, due in 2010, is for “companion” Netbooks rather than full-fledged replacement PCs. Google released the rough Chrome OS source code in November.
On a more down-to-earth note, by year’s end, Google had released a beta version of Chrome for Mac and Linux, not just Windows, and added a long-awaited extensions system.
Many Chrome ambitions are still far from any practical reality, but the browser had effects. One: Mozilla programmers have improved launch speed in the Firefox 3.6 beta.
Although Chrome stole some hearts among the techies who historically embraced Firefox, Mozilla’s browser was hardly pushed aside. Indeed, Firefox usage crept steadily up to about 25 percent worldwide over 2009. That’s a large enough population to make Mozilla’s effort to “upgrade the Web” more than posturing.
Mozilla is aggressively adding new features to Firefox, and a host arrived with Firefox 3.5 in June, notably the ability to embed video directly into Web pages without requiring a plug-in such as Adobe Systems’ Flash. HTML5 video remains hobbled by differences in opinion over the best video format to use, though. Ultimately, browser companies want to make the Web a foundation for applications, not just static sites, and the work includes interfaces for file handling, multitasking, Webcams, geolocation, and WebGL for 3D graphics.
Some of these improvements are spreading to multiple browsers through development of version 5 of the Hypertext Markup Language. Even Microsoft, whose Internet Explorer is derided as a laggard by techies and Web developers, climbed aboard with direct participation in HTML5 standardization work.
Those plans advanced in July when the World Wide Web Consortium threw its full weight behind HTML5 rather than the comparatively unsuccessful alternative, XHTML 2.0.
Attention now is shifting toward IE 9, though, which Microsoft previewed in December. Hardware acceleration dramatically speeds up some elements of its display, and the new version will comply better with Web standards. Microsoft hasn’t announced a ship date for the new version, but it’s clear the company is feeling more comfortable with its re-engagement in the browser wars.
NetApplications’ measurements of browser usage share, which track which browsers individuals use based on visits to the company’s network of Web sites, gave Chrome the third-place spot after No. 1 Internet Explorer and No. 2 Firefox for the week of December 6 through 12, according to a Computerworld story Tuesday. Chrome had 4.4 percent share to Safari’s 4.37 percent.
Google released beta versions of Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux on December 8. Earlier, only developer channel versions had been available. Google plans to release the “stable” versions January 12, according to the Chromium development calendar.
Take these usage share numbers with a grain of salt. Even though 0.03 percentage points still is a lot of people in the real world, it is a small fraction, and a change in Net Applications’ assumptions in August led to share changes two orders of magnitude more dramatic. Weekly statistics also vary: Although Firefox cleared 25 percent share in one week of November, it averaged only 24.72 percent for the overall month.
I’ve asked various browser makers about how trustworthy they view NetApplications’ statistics to be. The answers generally are favorable but not ringing endorsements.
Regardless of the precise details, though, the Chrome trajectory is upward: its November usage share was 3.93 percent to Safari’s 4.36 percent.
And although Google relied on word of mouth for promoting its original online search product, it’s taking a more active role with Chrome. The latest example: a “Chrome for Christmas” site that lets people send invitations to download Chrome.
Firefox proved that a browser not bundled with an operating system can be successful, and Chrome could show the idea isn’t a fluke if its growth continues.
- Google Mail Checker (displays the number of unread messages)
- Google Translate (easily translates an entire webpage with a click of a button)
- Google Wave Notifier (notify when you have unread Waves)
And many many more over at Google Chrome Extensions official page.
Oh, on another side of news, Google Chrome is now officially available for Mac and Linux (still in Beta)!
For a more geeky technical stuffs on the Google Chrome Extensions, watch the video below on how Chrome extension works:
Article by Michael Aulia
More people will get a chance to try out bookmark synchronization with Monday’s release of a beta version of Google Chrome for Windows.
Google introduced the bookmark sync feature for the developer-preview version in August, but now it’s also in the better-tested beta version, Chrome 184.108.40.206. However, there’s still no Chrome beta for Mac OS X or Linux.
In a video explanation, Google’s Anthony LaForge somewhat breathlessly describes how the sync feature can keep bookmarks the same on multiple machines. That’s a fair point, but let’s be realistic here–bookmark sync in Chrome is more catch-up than paradigm shift. Indeed, with the popular Xmarks extension–in the works for Chrome, people can synchronize bookmarks among multiple browsers, not merely multiple computers.
And Chrome’s clever message-based sync technology notwithstanding, Chrome bookmarks would be a lot more magical if they synchronized with the Google bookmarks service, which is linked with iGoogle and the Google Toolbar.
Speaking of extensions, one of the 4.x series’ biggest features is the ability to accommodate extensions, but because Google is shifting the extensions interface, the feature isn’t enabled in the beta version. Chrome is released in three versions: the roughest, fastest moving developer preview, the more stable beta, and the stable edition for the broadest audience.
Together, the features have the potential to dramatically improve the power and sophistication of Web-based applications. That’s particularly interesting given that Google is building Chrome OS, a browser-based operating system.