Google’s Chrome browser only just released actual beta versions for Mac OS X and Linux, but new data from Net Applications shows the browser gaining some serious traction amongst Internet users: according to the latest stats, in December 2009 Chrome became the third most popular browser on the Internet in terms of usage share, surpassing Apple’s Safari for the number three slot. Net Applications found that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (all versions) accounts for about 62.7 percent of the worldwide browser market, while Mozilla’s Firefox accounts for about 24.6 percent of the worldwide market. At number three, Chrome, with a 4.6 percent share—and that’s up from 3.9 percent the previous month, a proportionate month-to-month share increase of almost 18 percent.
Although it might be tempting to attribute some of Chrome’s newfound popularity to Mac OS X users switching over from Safari, that doesn’t seem terribly likely: Safari’s own market share increased month to month from 4.4 to 4.5 percent, and Chrome doesn’t yet support browser extensions on Mac OS X, meaning that one of the main reasons to use Chrome (besides speed) simple isn’t yet available to Mac users.
Net Applications’ figures also show continued erosion of Internet Explorer’s dominant market position, dropping from 63.6 percent to 62.7 percent month to month. However, Firefox also saw a slight month-to-month drop, slipping from 24.7 percent in November to 24.6 percent in December.