Clash of the Browsers

By Team YS|12th Jun 2011
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Gone are the days when a browser meant Internet Explorer. Firefox was always in the reckoning but Chrome is what has been taking the market by a storm in the recent years. As Google has conquered every sphere it has entered in the past decade, it seems as if they’re determined to become the leading web browser as well. Their popularity is not restricted to any specific region but has pervaded the entire globe; be it Europe or Asia or any other part.

Web BrowserLaunch Date First Version)Market share
May 2009May 2010May 2011
Internet ExplorerAugust 16, 199562.09%52.77%43.87%
Mozilla FirefoxFebruary 9, 200428.75%31.64%29.29%
Google ChromeDecember 20082.42%8.61%19.36%

Stat Counter is a service-provider for web analytics and releases all such data on its website. What this table shows is the significant rise in the market share for Chrome. IE has seen a steady decline ever since the peak it scaled in the early 2000’s when it had a market share of about 90%. Mozilla Firefox had an increasing share until now when it seems to have stagnated at around 30%. But Firefox has made noticeable changes with the newer version and Mozilla 4.0 is now the leading Firefox version. Quoting StatCounter, “Mozilla's Firefox 4 reached 14.2% of the worldwide market in May, overtaking for the first time its previous 3.6 version which is on 12.3%”

On the other hand, Chrome has grown from a modest share of 2.42 % in May2009 to a huge chunk of almost 20% in May2011. Its market share has grown by 8 times in just two years. And its popularity has grown everywhere. The following chart shows the trend in India which is pretty much the same world-wide.

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Simplicity has been Google’s mantra ever since, but there are a few other factors that have boosted Chrome apart from simplicity. The capacity of the address bar to double up as a search box is one of the major point. Also, a site crash on one tab will not cause the browser to crash. This is because Google chrome is multi-threaded process. Each tab is a separate thread with its own memory space.

Google has planned to release 7 new versions by the end of this year which means Chrome 17 would be the latest version by December 2011. One reason why Google is doing this, is because of the fact that Chrome has picked up too much fat. Chrome 1 was 9.0 MB in size, while the Chrome 10 was at 26.2 MB. The current Chrome versions have to carry an integrated Flash and PDF along, but the new browser has grown by 191% compared to Chrome 1. Google now wants to trim Chrome’s fat and is asking its developers for ideas as to how to bring down its distribution size. In comparison, Firefox’ file size is 12 MB, IE9 (32-bit) is at 17.3 MB and Opera is at 7.1 MB.This might be one factor which might thwart the escalating Chrome story. But if this obstacle is tackled, the road seems clear for Chrome and Firefox to fight it out for the top spot in 5 years from now.

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