September 6, 2008

interesting week for browser market share

There's been a lot of excitement this week in browsers. No doubt Chrome led the way with its 0.2 beta launch on Tuesday afternoon. Mozilla also launched the second alpha of Firefox 3.1.

There's also been a lot of speculation around the Web about how Google's Chrome has or will impact usage of the other browsers.

While it's pretty much impossible to know what's going to happen over the next few months, we can take a look at the first few days after Chrome's launch thanks to the hourly Market Share reports from Net Applications.

(Click the chart to see a larger version.)

As you can see from all the browsers charted, there's a pretty significant variance in usage throughout the day. What isn't obvious here, but would be if the chart covered a full week or more, is that there's also a pretty strong variance from weekday to weekend.

All that is to say that with such a small sample, there are a lot of things that this chart doesn't say. What it does say, I think, is that Firefox ended the week at about its normal 20% usage share and the new Google Chrome browser ended the week with just over 1% usage share.

From this global measure, from the most often cited Web statistics company, it's pretty clear that Chrome did not take any significant bite out of Firefox in those first 4 days.

It's pretty cool that Chrome was able to take as much as it did as quickly as it did, surpassing Opera and Safari on Windows with room to spare. No doubt those browser vendors have got to be pretty concerned. My congratulations to the Chrome team for a great launch and an exciting new browser. I think they've got the new #3 browser on Windows.

update: Oh, and there was also some speculation that Google might have topped Firefox's Download Day 2008 Guinness World Record. We'll have to wait on Google to tell us how many downloads they got in that first day, but if the usage numbers from Net Application's hourly tracking are to be believed, it's unlikely that Google surpassed Firefox's record. At the end of the first day of Firefox 3 downloads, Firefox 3 had grown to just over 4% of the global usage share, more than twice Chrome's peak usage on its best day after release.

Posted by asa at 9:00 PM