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Google Chrome Displaces Safari As Third In Survey 235

Posted by timothy
from the tight-race-for-3d dept.
Azureflare writes "According to a Net Applications survey, Google Chrome has replaced Apple's Safari as the number-three browser. This may be partially explained by the release of the Chrome beta on Mac and Linux, but may also be due to users jumping ship from IE. More analysis on this topic can be found at ComputerWorld. As anecdotal evidence of Google Chrome usage gaining steam, Bank of America has apparently recently added Google Chrome to their list of officially supported browsers."
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Google Chrome Displaces Safari As Third In Survey

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  • by symbolset (646467) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:36PM (#30625144) Journal

    The persistence of IE6 is due to organizations standardizing on the MS suite from the server to the browser and building their business intellingence into that web platform. They embraced and were trapped by the consequences of that decision, after which getting themselves out of that trap involved huge expense and much opportunity cost as well as much lost face. Bearing the scars of that experience, its not surprising that they are wary of re-entering the same trap twice. They appear to be deciding that "standards are good". See? Are childrens can has learnings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by negRo_slim (636783)
      The rise of Google's Chrome browser is all about add ons being introduced and the fact it doesn't look like total ass in a default install on Vista or 7.
      • by xaxa (988988) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:59PM (#30625382)

        Since the beginning of December I've seen loads of adverts in London (mostly on trains and in stations) for Google Chrome... have Google been advertising anywhere else?

      • Actually, it is more due to Google bundling the browser by default with the download for most of its offerings. For example, dowload Google Earth and you will get by default your browser replaced by IE. Yes, you get a chance to opt out from it, but since a desire to run a non-web mapping application is completely orthogonal to the desire to replace your browser, I find the practice a horrible abuse, and it is a sign of what Google is becoming.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mattventura (1408229)

      getting themselves out of that trap

      People are still IN the trap. It's vendor lock-in at its finest. They start with MS from client to server, and everything is dependent on other MS products. Then they seal it when they have to start making MS-based web apps and such. And on top of that, they see no reason to get out. There aren't any 'consequences' for some people. So they just stay in the MS-hole.

    • by tgd (2822)

      Having been on both sides of that -- at a company ignorantly producing software that required IE, and at companies that had to support systems still running IE because of that precide problem, its not organizations standardizing on the MS suite, the problem stemmed from the shortage of qualified web application developers at the tail end of the dot-com boom. There were vast numbers of "developers" getting into the space that had absolutely no idea what they were doing, and the non-technical companies who we

      • by truthsearch (249536) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @05:03PM (#30626028) Homepage Journal

        My experience has been the opposite. I've worked with some very smart engineers in the financial industry. Any time we tried to diverge from the MS path we were told to stay on it by management. These companies had signed very large contracts with Microsoft (for licenses and support), and so management felt they needed to commit completely to get the full value from their contracts, even when other solutions would save them money in the long term. This was most definitely corporate policy, straight from the CTOs / CIOs.

  • Chrome (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:36PM (#30625146) Journal

    Has passed? StatCounter shows [statcounter.com] they already passed in August 2008, far before Chrome beta for Mac or Linux was available. However Internet Explorer still seem to have majority of marketshare with 63% (interestingly the Net Applications site seems to use IIS..)

    Interestingly other countries seem to have a totally different market shares (wiser users?):
    Opera is leading with 32% in Russia [statcounter.com], with 35% in Ukraine [statcounter.com], and 44% in Belarus [statcounter.com].
    China saw a huge 7% decrease from 95% [statcounter.com] in just recent two months, with Maxthon picking up the same percent and Firefox as 3rd with only 3%. (Maxthon uses IE engine tho)

    Google has huge ways to market Chrome; they can do tv/billboard ads, internet ads, include a notice on their sites (like they're doing with YouTube) and enable option to install it along with their other apps, and pay manufacturers to include Chrome with their pc's.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dangitman (862676)

      From the StatCounter website:

      "Stats are based on aggregate data collected by StatCounter on a sample exceeding 5 billion pageviews per month collected from across the StatCounter network of more than 3 million websites. "

      Doesn't sound like a particularly reliable source of data to me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        It does sound a bit more reliable than Net Applications tho, "which the company says encompasses data from some 160 million users per month.". Thats 31x larger source for data.

        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          Well that was a bit different metric, but the point still stands.

        • by dangitman (862676)

          No, StatCounter talks about pageviews, while Net Applications talks about users. I'm guessing most users tend to load more than 31 pages per month.

          Either way, there are lies, damn lies, and web statistics.

        • by Trepidity (597)

          Possibly true--- the real question though, which I don't think either data source has made a convincing effort to account for, is how representative each sample is of the total population of internet users. An unbiased sample doesn't even need to be particularly large; a few thousand users would suffice for a very low margin of error. But millions of users in a skewed sample is still a skewed sample...

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Not really much wiser users; influence of people setting up OS on home machines (which are also much older on average)

      See, in those post-soviet countries legal Windows is almost unheard of (shift towards laptops changes things of course, but only a bit; not only they are smaller part of market, notable number of them comes essentially without OS (FreeDOS? Some Linux booting into textmode? LiveCD? Without drivers for the hardware...). So somebody vaguely fluent in "computers" will set up pirated copy, usuall

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't know about everyone else, but Internet Explorer 5.5 is working pretty well here on my Windows NT 4 machines. IE5.5 has the fastest ECMAscript execution, is reasonably easy to program for, and works on all of our 2000 and NT 4 desktops. Until the other browsers start supporting legacy Windows systems, IE5.5/6 will always have a place.

    Time to go back to coding the web-based CSM in C with a COBOL backend on Fujitsu Cobol .NET...

    Anonymous Sig 2.0:
    MADONNA IS AMAZING! I LOVE MADONNA - EROTICA.MP16! [madonna.com]

    • I know you are kidding, but that post still gave me nausea. :P

    • by Tumbleweed (3706)

      I don't know about everyone else, but Internet Explorer 5.5 is working pretty well here on my Windows NT 4 machines.

      Dude, you should try Windows Millennium - WAY easier on system resources than that hog NT4! Plus, as the name 'Millennium' implies, it's probably Y2K-compliant. Ish.

  • Worthless (Score:5, Informative)

    by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot <{slashdot} {at} {pudge.net}> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @03:51PM (#30625310) Homepage Journal

    Such metrics are almost always worthless. And such is the case here. Their methodology is fundamentally flawed, and you can't fix flawed methodology by just getting more of it.

    Ars Technica notes [arstechnica.com], 'The company tracks OS and browser use among "member sites" that use Net Applications' tracking services, which the company says encompasses data from some 160 million users per month. This means that the only OS and browser numbers being tracked are those from users who specifically visit those member sites, which include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and InformationWeek. If specific demographics of users—like, say, Linux users—don't tend to read those types of sites, they are going to be underrepresented, and similarly, other demographics may be overrepresented.

    It obviously could be the case that Chrome is used by people more likely to use those "member sites" than people who use Safari.

    Unfortunately, Ars Technica then writes, 'That being said, browser metrics such as these aren't worthless. Even though they may be an inaccurate way to make comparisons between operating systems, they provide a good picture when it comes to trends within a specific OS. For example, Net Applications tracked the Mac OS at 7.3 percent at the end of 2007 and 9.63 percent at the end of 2008, showing more than a 2.6 percentage point jump in only a year for the Mac. In this sense, it doesn't matter if Mac users tend to visit the Wall Street Journal's website more than Linux users. The trend is clearly showing that Mac users, with all their unique browsing habits, are growing steadily.'

    That's obviously false, because it doesn't take into account the fact that demographics can trend from year to year (perhaps the WSJ introduced a new, and popular, Mac-specific section on their web site).

    • Re:Worthless (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IntlHarvester (11985) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:22PM (#30625648) Journal

      Eh, maybe the stats are "worthless" to sad OS/Browser fanboys who are arguing over every last 0.1%.

      But the general trend of the web browser is useful and interesting. These kinds of browser stats are how we tracked the rise-and-fall of Netscape, the rise and stagnation of IE, and the rise of Firefox. People do use this sort of information for development and testing priority, flawed methodology and all.

      And you will never have a non-"flawed" methodology for capturing this information, even for the users on your own site. (How do you identify a unique user? how do you know they aren't faking their user agent string? Who is a person and who is a bot? etc) If you can't deal with fuzzy information, don't leave the basement.

    • Re:Worthless (Score:5, Informative)

      by westlake (615356) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:26PM (#30625680)

      This means that the only OS and browser numbers being tracked are those from users who specifically visit those member sites, which include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and InformationWeek. If specific demographics of users--like, say, Linux users--don't tend to read those types of sites, they are going to be underrepresented,

      The Moz Foundation is a Net Applications client.

      Opera. Nokia. Adobe. Apple. Microsoft. RIM. D&B. CNN. Roche. Amazon.

      The geek who hasn't ventured out of his grandma's basement in the last decade might be overlooked.

      But the odds seem very good that you will be counted.

      • Re:Worthless (Score:4, Informative)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:44PM (#30625850) Homepage

        ...of that list, very few of those sites are actually "general interest". They are strictly vendor sites that someone might visit when they need a driver or a plugin update. The rest of the time they should be pretty invisible.

        CNN and Amazon are somewhat interesting. The rest represent clearly skewed user sets.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          do they count Facebook, MySpace, and the webmail portals? Because dealing with "average Joe" customers all day I would say those sites would probably give the most accurate results. The younger folks live on Facebook, and even the older folks have dropped Outlook express and other download mails for Yahoo, Live, and Gmail.

          So if one wanted to see the "average user" stats I bet that figuring the data from the above sites would give a pretty clear picture of what folks are using. Sites like RIM and MSFT just

      • by pudge (3605) * Works for Slashdot

        the odds seem very good that you will be counted.

        When you play the odds, you are admitting your sampling methodolgy is flawed.

        This is similar to the Neilsen ratings. Sure, it might work for many people, but there will be significant demographics that will be left out, making the data not just generally worthless, but damaging.

  • That probably gave the figures a big bump. Using it right now.

  • by tgd (2822)

    I'm not sure I know anyone who uses IE who even knows that Chrome exists.

    I'd be willing to bet its almost entirely loss of Firefox users (like myself), as Firefox has become a bloated, buggy, slow pile of crap that would make IE6 proud.

    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      I love when people say X is bloated, but never mention what the bloat is.

      Please, name something you can remove from the default install of Firefox.

      • by selven (1556643)

        Please, name something you can remove from the default install of Firefox.

        Integrated bloat is the worst kind.

        • Agree with parent, youll need to define bloat. Session recovery? Guess what, every browser ive checked out there supports it, including Chrome. Tab close undo? Ditto. Same for a database backend (chrome has one), extensions (chrome, opera, IE all have them).

          So what exactly is the bloat being referred to? I use chrome because I find it to be faster, but from recent experience Firefox 3.5 is faster than 3.0, which was much faster than 2.0, which was faster / better than 1.5, etc.
          • by selven (1556643)

            XUL is a pretty big one. Then there's all the addon-like features that Firefox started to put into its main version, like microformats, an RSS reader, etc. More here [wired.com]

      • by tgd (2822)

        Whatever it is that's using 450MB of RAM and chewing up 5x the amount of time loading pages.

        That's a good place to start.

        • by xigxag (167441)

          If the FF install was 450MB of RAM, that wold be bloat. The fact that when open and running, Firefox might occupy a 450MB footprint isn't necessarily bloat, but either poor programming (if the RAM usage slows the system down) GOOD programming (if the RAM usage speeds the system up -- there's no point in having 4/8GB of RAM in your system if the applications never use it) or just a necessary reality (if you have 50 tabs open, with youtube clips and huge modern pages inside, they're gonna take up memory, no

      • I find that most of Firefox's "bloat" comes from extensions. A brand new install of Firefox, particularly the more recent betas, starts up very quickly but as soon as you start installing certain extensions its start up time becomes very slow. This is in stark contrast with Chrome 4.x which is fast even with a lot of extensions. (I have 17 installed in Chrome on my netbook and it still flys.)

      • by rantingkitten (938138) <<kitten> <at> <mirrorshades.org>> on Sunday January 03, 2010 @01:23AM (#30629498) Homepage
        The awesome bar, for starters. I start Firefox, type "s" in the address bar, and have to wait for-bloody-ever while it sifts through uncountable megabytes looking for any page I may have visited in the past ten days where the URL or even the title might contain the letter S. Not begin with the letter S -- just contain it somewhere in the url string or title. This is freaking ridiculous.
    • by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:17PM (#30625598) Homepage Journal

      I'm not sure I know anyone who uses IE who even knows that Chrome exists.

      I use IE sometimes; there's stuff I try to use that doesn't work in FF or Chrome, especially at work, where government sites still don't work well with either (CAC-enabled DoD sites, especially).

      I'd be willing to bet its almost entirely loss of Firefox users (like myself), as Firefox has become a bloated, buggy, slow pile of crap that would make IE6 proud.

      I've switched to Chrome most of the time on my Windows box at work, and another here at home. Am currently using FF on this box, because I don't use it all that much. On my macs, I use Safari.

      But the bigger sisue is that WebKit/KHTML is now a better core than Gecko, and will probably surpass Gecko-based browsers at some point in the not-too-distant future. This is especially true when you consider that a large portion of the mobile browser market is now WebKit-based (Safari on iPhone, Chrome on Android), and the Gecko/FF port to Win32 was damn near unusable when I used it last (this past summer, before I bought my iPhone).

      • by BZ (40346) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:40PM (#30625818)

        > But the bigger sisue is that WebKit/KHTML is now a better core than Gecko

        Based on what metric? It uses more memory, is faster in some cases and slower in others, is easier to hack in some ways. It also just provides a renderer, as opposed to an entire browser. So which is better depends on what you're trying to do and how much effort you want to expend on the non-renderer parts of your app (e.g. to use webkit you have to provide your own http stack and so forth).

        If you just want to embed a non-browser HTML renderer that you're going to feed data into, then webkit is better, sure. That's what it's designed for; it's not what Gecko is designed for.

      • by BZ (40346) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @05:11PM (#30626094)

        One other note... Webkit and Gecko have different priorities in other ways too: for example, correct behavior of CSS selectors in the face of DOM mutations is a top priority for Gecko (and hence behavior is correctin all the cases I know of) and is not for Webkit (and hence the behavior is not correct in various cases; "for now we will just worry about the common case, since it's a lot trickier to get the second case right" as the Webkit code comments say). There are various other areas in which Webkit is behind Gecko in terms of standards support, and vice versa. They seem to have different future development priorities (e.g. in terms of things like SMIL vs CSS Animations).

        It's also not clear which is developing faster, and that aspect is subject to rapid change. I think at this point there are more full-time engineers employed to work on Webkit than on the equivalent parts of Gecko. That may or may not continue to be the case.

        Another interesting question, of course, is IE. IE9 has a bigger development team than either Webkit or Gecko, from what I can tell, and they're rapidly working on closing the existing gaps. IE's support for CSS2.1 is better than either Webkit's _or_ Gecko's in my testing (easier to do in some ways because the spec has kept changing so in some cases Webkit/Gecko implement earlier versions). Of course IE has a lot of catching up to do in other areas.

        It'll be an interesting next few years all around.

      • I use IE sometimes; there's stuff I try to use that doesn't work in FF or Chrome, especially at work, where government sites still don't work well with either (CAC-enabled DoD sites, especially).

        Is there a reason you can't use IEtab on FF? At least you can ditch the malware-magnet IE application frame, even if you don't ditch the trident rendering engine.

    • "but may also be due to users jumping ship from IE."

      Some of us jumped ship from Firefox. It's served us well these past few years, but since 3 came out, it's been increasingly buggy and memory hoggish.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Features = bloat.

      Remember Phoenix? Light,fast, nothing else.

      It morphed into Firefox which is featureful and buggier. (I like the features so I don't run FF on slow PCs.)

    • by The J Kid (266953)

      I'm not sure I know anyone who uses IE who even knows that Chrome exists.

      That's not the point. (also, there are Chrome billboards everywhere here in the city) This is the point:

      Bank of America has apparently recently added Google Chrome to their list of officially supported browsers.

      I called this! On Slashdot!

      Also, you can phone up your bank, if their site's not working for you and scream:
      "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU DON'T SUPPORT GOOGLE?"
      and they'll get with the Google.

      (In a Chrome OS topic, but still) [slashdot.org]

  • Chrome on Ubuntu (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dreadneck (982170) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:12PM (#30625538)
    I'm giving Chrome a whirl on Ubuntu. The install was simple using GDebi, the performance is great and flash, java, divx, wmp, quicktime, and realplayer plugins are working, I've got AdBlock, LastPass, and SmoothScroll extensions installed. What's not to like (other than a current lack of an official ubuntu theme)?
  • Net Applications (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:15PM (#30625578)

    Ah, Net Applications, the place whose surveys Slashdotters pick and choose to believe in depending on whose doing well in the survey.

    • by caluml (551744)

      depending on whose doing

      depending on who's doing (who is).

      That'll be £5 please.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:18PM (#30625610) Homepage Journal
    Chrome displaces Safari that displaced Konqueror. But in the end, what matters is what runs behind. Webkit is gaining ground, and more important, web standards are too, Javascript is gaining speed. Unsafe/slow/nonstandard/closed browsers are losing ground, so all win.
    • by hkmwbz (531650)

      Unsafe/slow/nonstandard/closed browsers are losing ground

      Browsers? As in all versions of IE? I can't think of any other such browsers worth considering.

  • And yet... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AnswerIs42 (622520) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:28PM (#30625706) Homepage

    I still have to start up Opera or FireFox because I have too many sites I visit that just do not work in chrome.

    But yet, for a netbook, Chrome is the best choice because it uses the smallest amount of real estate for non-browser window information.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rockoon (1252108)
      Opera is highly configurable. It shouldn't be too hard to minimize the amount of space taken by the toolbar and so forth. Right click the tab bar and select Customize -> Appearance. Toy around a bit.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Apart from customization mentioned already by other poster, I'm surprised that Opera Turbo, very low resource usage, definitely felt on slow hardware and built-in syncing weren't enough to keep you with Opera on a netbook.

    • But yet, for a netbook, Chrome is the best choice because it uses the smallest amount of real estate for non-browser window information.

      By default, yes. After configuring, not necessarily. Firefox's UI is *very* configurable, and I wouldn't be surprised if fans of other browsers can make similar claims for their preferred browsers. I expect most people who care enough about their screen real estate to chose their browser based on that fact, would also be willing to learn to configure their browser to get even more real estate, thereby nullifying any advantage Chrome may have by default. I own an eeepc 701 - you know, with the 7" screen.

  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @04:43PM (#30625844) Journal

    From the summary:

    This may be partially explained by the release of the Chrome beta on Mac

    As an Mac user who's tried out the OS X version of Chrome, I can assure you that no one is abandoning Safari for it. While it's a decent enough browser for a beta, there are enough annoying things about it to make me wait until the next version to decide whether or not it will replace Safari (or Firefox; I switch between the two) as my primary browser.

    If anything, it's more likely that the relative few Windows users who have been trying Safari for Windows have switched over to Chrome, at least temporarily.

    • Wrong. (Score:2, Informative)

      by mathletics (1033070)
      I'm a Mac user who abandoned Safari for Chrome. Well, technically I abandoned Firefox, since Safari has always been a last-place choice for me.
    • by The J Kid (266953)

      I have replaced Safari with Chrome as my default browser on Mac.

    • I'm a mac user. I switched from safari to chrome. My wife switched from ff to chrome.

    • I dropped Safari like a hot rock as soon as Chrome came out for Mac. Safari is buggy, slow, crashes all the time and is inflexible enough that it really gets on my tits. I'm glad to see the back of it.

    • by _|()|\| (159991)

      As an Mac user who's tried out the OS X version of Chrome, I can assure you that no one is abandoning Safari for it.

      I have indeed all but abandoned Safari in favor of Chrome, warts and all. While Safari does well in synthetic benchmarks, it chews up memory and slows to a beach-ball inducing crawl. Firefox is slightly better, but suffers from essentially the same problem.

      Chrome's process-per-tab model, on the other hand, really seems to work as promised. I've been using it on three computers since the beta c

  • I've seen the number of visitors to my web site using Chrome double in November and December with most of the visitors using 3.0.195.33 and split between Windows and Linux (with Windows having a slight edge). I'm really rather surprised at the surge, but thankful that standards-based web browsing will be the norm in the near future (at least amongst people fond of fine-art photography).
  • "We absolutely promise that we only want to completely screw over Microsoft with this, and certainly not Mozilla Firefox," said Google's Sundar Pichai. "That we put a pile of our sponsored Mozilla developers on the project is completely irrelevant. We're not evil, remember."

    "We are so, so happy with Google Chrome," mumbled Mozilla CEO John Lilly through gritted teeth. "That most of our income is from Google has no bearing on me making this statement."

    Microsoft was unfazed. "Browsers don't need to be integrated with online apps," said marketing developer Ian Moulster. "Certainly not like the operating system ... I'll just get back to you."

    Google's new browser will give you their web and email services, photo processing, mapping, office applications that will run in said browser and will make you a cup of tea. This is all paid for by personally-directed text ads in your tea leaves, based on analysing a DNA sample taken when you sip the tea and sending your genetic code back to Google for future targeting.

    Pichai stressed that Google would maintain complete confidentiality within the marketing department of whatever the browser accessed concerning your confidential business data, bank account details, medical information and personal preferences in pornography. "We're Google. We know where you live. In a completely not evil way. Sponsored link: Get Chrome Browsers on google.com. Or we'll make you use Windows Live."

    (link) [newstechnica.com]

  • For most MS shops still sticking to IE6 as the officially supported browser, this is no surprise nor meaningful. Just confirms corporate and Windows users use more than IE. Safari users unaffected.

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