Google's Chrome web browser has received lots of attention since its release last week. Although initial interest was very high immediately after the launch, third-party as well as Ars Technica's internal statistics show that Chrome hasn't significantly displaced other browsers yet. The new browser still is pulling around 7 percent market share at Ars, and while it lacks maturity, it could gain more traction as it improves.
Net Applications, which has been tracking Chrome market share on an hourly basis, shows that the browser's popularity peaked at roughly 1.7 percent of the global browser market on September 5. It has fluctuated in waves since then and is currently hovering around 1 percent. According to Net Applications, Chrome has already passed Netscape and Opera, which are both around 0.75 percent.
The statistics from Net Applications loosely reflect trends from across the entire market. For a look at how Chrome is faring among early-adopter technologists, we dug into our own server logs and found some intriguing trends. A few days after the official launch, the percentage of Ars visitors using Chrome jumped up to 13 percent—rivaling Safari market share on September 4. Although the jump to 13 percent is extremely impressive, Chrome didn't retain that popularity for long. It drifted back down to about 7 percent, where it has held steady ever since.
Here's the breakdown for the month of September so far:
Firefox still commands the highest browser marketshare on Ars and is used by approximately half of our readers. The initial Chrome launch seems to have sucked users away from both Firefox and Internet Explorer, but neither has been significantly impacted by Chrome adoption yet. Opera is too sparsely used by Ars readers to be included on the chart, though it's worth noting that Opera may be under-counted because many Opera users change the browser's user agent string.
Some of the trends in Ars browser marketshare appear to be influenced by the nature of the content that we publish. For instance, we think that the boost in Firefox marketshare over the past two days is the result of our widely-linked Ubuntu 9.04 coverage. Ubuntu enthusiasts generally use Firefox and many visited the site to read that particular article. Similarly, the huge jump in Safari users yesterday is likely attributable to our live coverage of Apple's iPod event. Curiously, we didn't see a sizable boost in IE share after the public beta of IE8 was released late last month.
We're not sure what to make of the weird spikes for both IE and FF on the 24th, other than it was a Google Analytics burp. For a bit more context, here's how average browser share has fluctuated on Ars throughout the year to date. Both Firefox and IE have seen modest gains since the beginning of the year, while Safari's share has dropped a bit—although it should be pointed out that MacWorld San Francisco was in January, which may have skewed the numbers a bit.
Chrome is still in a very early stage of development and could see broader marketshare after some of its current limitations are addressed. There are already over 1,300 open bug reports in the Chrome bug tracking system, so there is clearly a lot of room for improvement. In our review last week, we also noted some places where Chrome's limited functionality leaves a lot to be desired. If Google addresses some of these issues, Chrome could gain a broader following.Posted on