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Nov 26, 2008

How widely used is Chrome? More than I expected

Ed: Early adopter sites like Techcrunch and ReadWriteWeb reports the highest Chrome share. Cnet reports the second wave. The vast majority of users have never heard of Chrome. Safari use among Window users is almost nil.

How widely used is Chrome? More than I expected

CNET News browser share

Chrome doesn't have much market share among CNET News visitors, but it's climbing.

(Credit: CNET News)

Is Google's Chrome browser mainstream?

Certainly not. But I've been curious how widespread its use is, in particular because I'm curious if I have any company in my choice to set Chrome as my default browser.

So I persuaded CNET's tech guys to give a window on what's going on here at CNET News. The result surprised me: 3.6 percent of those visiting the site in October used Chrome, up from 1 percent in September, when Google launched Chrome.

That's higher than I expected. It lagged Microsoft Internet Explorer, with 40.7 percent, Firefox with 37.4 percent, and Safari with 18.2 percent, but beat out Opera, with 1.2 percent in October. (Other browsers bring the total to 100 percent.)

Of course, CNET News has a more adventurous and techno-savvy audience than the average Web site. For comparison, I looked at data from Net Applications, which releases browser statistics based on the 160 million different people who visit a network of 40,000 sites using its Web analytics service. The company's data skews somewhat toward usage in North America and Europe, but it's still a more mainstream view of browser use than our site's.

Net Applications gives Chrome's share at 0.74 percent, essentially tied with Opera at 0.75 percent for October. Leading the pack is IE with 71.3 percent, followed by Firefox at 20 percent, and Safari at 6.6 percent.

So it doesn't look like Chrome is crushing either of the major powers. But second-tier browser companies should certainly be paying attention, given how rapidly Chrome ascended to striking distance. Google has a strong brand and a lot of programmers, though even most folks still aren't convinced they need to switch.

Chrome is rarer among mainstream users.

Chrome is rarer, with 0.74 percent share, in Net Applications' measurements of millions of browser users.

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