Chrome is Winning the Browser War?

According to this Mashable post, “Internet Explorer Still on Top, but Chrome is Winning the Browser War.”  Huh?! Even though IE is still the most popular browser, it has lost “a lot” of market share in 2011 to Google Chrome.   Mashable quotes StatCounter’s 2011 data which states IE has 39% market share, Chrome has 27% and Firefox has 25%.  Safari at 6% and Opera at 2% bring up the rear. 

The numbers are impressive but what is more impressive to Mashable (and I agree) is the amount IE and Firefox both lost to Chrome.  In the beginning of 2011 IE had 46% and Firefox “was over 30%” of the market.  Both browsers lost a chunk of users who went to Chrome, thus making it the number 2 browser in the beginning of 2012.

I live in an IE bubble.  Work only supports IE.  Getting them to upgrade to the next IE standard is a monumental hurdle in itself, let alone having Firefox or Chrome installed.  Because work only supports IE, I tend to use IE on my personal laptop.  So, I had no idea that Chrome was this popular.  Why? 

Preston Gralla at ComputerWorld attributes Chrome’s rise and IE’s decline to smartphones. 

“Safari is the default browser for iOS, and Chrome is the default for Android. (Actually, the Android browser isn’t exactly precise Google code, but it’s close enough, and syncs with the computer versions of Chrome, for example.)”

Preston writes for ComputerWorld and is much smarter than me in the ways of computers, but I don’t think it is all due to smartphone usage. If it were then Safari would have more than a measly 6%.  Now I realize Android has a larger market share (around 45%) but the next most popular smartphone is Apple with 28% share, yet its browser Firefox has only a 6% market share?!  I would think it would be bigger than that.

Sam Diaz at ZDNet believes Chromes rise up the ranks is due to little bits of things here and there as well as better market awarness.

“Is it browser performance? Is it speed? Maybe it’s the fact that Apple continues to sell Macs – which don’t support IE – to former Windows users. My guess is that it’s a combination of the above, as well as many other factors, including general awareness.”

Whatever the reason, I don’t see hospital IT departments adopting Chrome (or anything not IE) any time too soon.  So if the majority of your medical library users are internal (i.e. they are coming from the hospital computers and Intranet) I wouldn’t be too concerned about Chrome for a while.  But if you tend to get a lot of external users through VPN or another secure method you might need to keep a close eye on your usage statistics to see what browsers your users are using.  If Chrome has as big of a usage base as StatCounter says, this might effect how your ILS or your off campus authentications systems work/display.

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