More than 25% of internet users in Great Britain now use Google Chrome as their main web browser, despite the fact that it was only launched two and a half years ago. The latest figures show that Google Chrome has recently become Britain’s second most popular internet browser, surprisingly having overtaken Firefox in popularity. The figures also indicate that it is swiftly gaining ground on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the current (and still dominant) market leader. Internet Explorer is still a long way in front with a market share of 45% but it needs to be remembered that the browser does come pre-installed on most computers sold in the UK. Despite this advantage IE is steadily losing popularity, thanks in part to its reputation for lapses in security and its bloated software. Apple’s Safari browser is also gaining in market share, although it currently only has 9% of total users.
Commenting on the latest figures, Google noted that the increasing popularity of their browser in Britain was thanks in part to the security and speed it offered, and also because of a nationwide advertising campaign to promote it. Indeed they added that Google Chrome was the first product they had ever advertised on UK television. Nevertheless, Chrome’s designer, Lars Bak believed that the popularity was all down to the quality of the application. He said that in building Chrome he had been aiming chiefly for speed, but then they had also been careful to give it a minimal design and to ensure it was completely secure. Bak believed that once people began using Chrome, they would not want to use any other browser again:
“If you are a user and you try a webpage and it suddenly opens really snappy, it’s very hard to go back (to a previously used browser). Chrome has shown us that people like to spend more time interacting with the web.”
The figures for the rest of the world are expected to match those of the UK very soon. In terms of total worldwide use Chrome already has over 21% of the market, or one in five people and is the third most popular browser in the world. It is predicted that it will overtake Mozilla’s Firefox within the year and that it will be challenging Internet Explorer in the next two or three years.
It is Google’s aim to sell their Chromebook computers on the back of the popularity of Chrome – the laptops will have their own OS built around the Chrome browser. Instead of taking up storage memory, any data to be used within the Chromebook will have to be based in the cloud.