Google Chrome Stats, Three Months Out

By Josh Catone
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Shortly after Google’s new Webkit-based browser, called Chrome, hit the streets, we took a look at how many people were using it. Our first look at the early stats found that an impressive 4-5% of users were using Chrome a couple of days after launch. Perhaps not surprisingly. given that Chrome was aimed initially at a more technical, early adopter crowd, it was Firefox that took a hit at the start rather than Internet Explorer, even though most pundits agree that Google is taking aim at Microsoft with their browser initiative, not Mozilla.

After the initial euphoria of a new browser product wore off, we noted earlier this month that Chrome usage has stabilized at SitePoint to a little over 3%, which is still ahead of the worldwide average of about a quarter of a percent to 1%.

It’s still way to early to tell what impact Chrome will have on the browser race long term, but three months is a much better sample than a single week, so it’s not a bad idea to take a look at the numbers again and see what they look like.

This latest round of browser share comparison was kicked off by Stephan Shankland at CNET, who himself has switched to Chrome because of its superior JavaScript speed. Shankland found that from September to October, visitors to CNET latched onto Chrome in larger than expected numbers. Event though just 3.6% of visitors used Chrome in October, that’s still a huge jump from 1% the month before. Firefox also jumped and IE and Safari took a hit (perhaps that’s Windows Safari users, since Chrome for Mac doesn’t yet officially exist — or perhaps that’s the work of Firefox).

At SitePoint we actually saw an opposite trend. Between September and November (this month isn’t over yet, but we think it has enough data to be included in the chart with that caveat in mind), Internet Explorer actually saw a mammoth jump in usage on our site, while every other browser dropped significantly month-over-month. The reason could be that starting in late October we’ve had an influx of traffic from Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious due to a handful of blog posts that have done well on those social media sites. So traffic over the past 6 weeks has been atypical for SitePoint, and thus could be skewing our numbers.

That, however, still gives us data from which we can draw some conclusions. If Chrome usage — and indeed Firefox, Safari, and Opera usage — declined when our traffic started coming from more mainstream sources, it indicates that the mainstream is still very much hooked on IE. Firefox, and Safari on Mac, may have made a dent in IE’s stranglehold on the browser market, but Chrome hasn’t even touched the mainstream.

The latest data from Net Applications affirms that theory. According to their browser share report, Chrome is used by just 3/4th of a percent of all net users — about the same as Opera. Firefox hovers around 20% and Internet Explorer maintains a commanding lead with over 70% of all use. The bit of browser share real estate that Chrome has managed to snag in just about 3 months is not insignificant, however, it is a long way from crossing the chasm.

What browsers are your visitors using this month? Has Chrome made any sort of impression? Let us know in the comments.

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  • From the title of this post, I thought you were going to announce an official (not beta) release of Chrome in three months. Nevermind, still a good article though.

    It’s interesting to get statistics from a wide reaching pool, such as those from Net Theory, as most stats we see are biased by the target market of the site.

    Also, is your proofer/editor on holiday or were you just in a rush lately?

  • Hmmm… Interesting.

    I like Chrome but I’ve been using FF for so long (I think it was Firebird or something back then) and I’ve become so habit formed that I have to almost plan to use anything else as my browser; Otherwise I’ll just automatically start up FF. With IE I had good security reasons to switch to FF. Chrome is very fast but that isn’t a compelling enough difference for me to make the switch just yet. I’ll have to give it some more attention and see if I can break the FF habit.

    This morning after reading this post, I looked at Analytics Browser Capabilities for ten websites we manage. These sites are all fairly diverse and target different visitors. They consist of mid size eCommerce sites, a school, a couple of non-profits, our company site and a few other tech oriented sites. In all cases Chrome usage was just below 1%, Firefox was around 25% – 30% and IE was 60% – 70%.

    It’s been about two years since I last looked at these reports and as I recall it seems about the same. Maybe when IE8 hits the street things will change up a bit. Further to that, I wonder if SitePoint is getting a lot of IE8 beta traffic recently. I’ve got the beta here and I have used it to see how it handles various site that I know well. I have definitely browsed SitePoint in IE8 over the last couple of months.

  • Siri

    I manage a site with a public comprised of IT amd financial corporations in Brazil. Chrome is faring really well with a 2,7% right after Firefox 25% and iE 71% (being 38% iE6 and 60% iE7, with an astounding 2% iE8)

  • @Chris: I don’t have a proofer/editor. Explains a lot, eh? ;)

    I’ve updated the title of the post to make it more clear, though. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Greg

    I like Chrome … it’s fast and opens fast too. However … I post this comment in Firefox. For me it’s simple … no Foxmarks, web dev toolbar and several other add-ons.

    Firefox starts really slow (even with no add-ons) and you have to kill it every now and then as it retains memory. But once Chrome has all the features you expect in a browser and maybe some add-ons, I think it will slow down anyways. Not sure.

    It’s great for gmail, steaming radio and development though … but I need a bookmark sync at minimum for me to consider full time usage of it.

  • I spent a bit of today in Chrome and it is pretty nice. Very quick and super clean UI. It shows how slow some sites really are. I agree with Greg about the web dev toolbar. I use that and Firebug every time I fire up the browser.

  • Chrome would get my vote as favorite new browser, but it just doesn’t seem to do well with AJAX applications. Anyone experiencing a similar situation?

  • rizzy

    Google Chrome sucks so bad. OMG. I installed it and Uninstalled it 3 times. It is such a downgrade from Firefox. And I really think they should remove the Chrome advertising from Youtube, because it will only give bad reputation to Chrome in the long term, which might be hard to repair in the world of so many browsers out there. And one thing I do not understand is why can Google simply not make a browser as good as Firefox when they are the ones that should be the best at it.
    Regards: rizzy

  • Stevie D

    I have no idea how many visitors to my site are using Chrome, because awstats doesn’t give a tally for them :-( I assume they are lumped in with ‘other’, but I’ve not checked.

  • Steve Jackman

    I have been using Chrome for nearly three months, it is fast and uncluttered, and if your computer crashes, saves the pages you’ve been working on. I had been using FF and IE7, but got fed up with the never ending “Tell Microsoft about this problem”, slow loading and constant interruptions that plague all versions of IE. I don’t have enough confidence in Microsoft to even bother trying IE8.

    FF is good, but Chrome is even better, although I miss the some of the conveniences like not having auto fill-ins. Chrome, however is still only in the beta stage and when fully developed will have all this and more.

  • @Stevie D

    If you really want to know, you can install Google Analytics.

  • I use chrome, and overall it’s pretty good.

    Thin and fast on google’s sites, I use it mainly for my mail since I’m a hosted apps g/a guy.

    but it still has enough problems with specific sites that I don’t use it for mainstream browsing.

    Right now for example, I have my dedicated gmail app (i like how you can create a launcher for things like gmail) open, but i’m typing and surfing this site in FF.

    I used chrome pretty religiously for the first month or so, now have lapsed back into using both, and I’d have to say … more FF than chrome.

    I have to admit as a designer, it kinda pisses me off that now instead of having to optimize for 3 browsers (and god knows how many versions of IE) I have to optimize for a 4th browser.. not that I’m bothering for chrome users yet, but I do see it as google laying more work on my table. :(

  • xentech

    What do you expect? Chrome is still a baby, it is a very very young browser. It is still in beta for christ sake.