Google Chrome beats Apple’s Safari market share

Dear visitor: Please keep in mind that this post is originally from Vibor Cipan's personal blog, the name of which we eventually adopted as our company name together with its conveniently-named URL. We're keeping the posts on our official company blog for all the subscribers to Vibor's blog who have read and commented on his previous posts. Please be aware that this post represents Vibor's personal thinking few years ago and doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of the UX Passion as a company today. 

More than a year and half ago, I wrote an article here on UXPassion.com saying that we don’t need another hero – and I was referring to the Google Chrome browser. Today, after I’ve noticed news reporting that Chrome has surpassed Apple’s Safari market share, I might need to reconsider my previous claims.

Introduction

Oh boy was I wrong? Or perhaps – not?

On September 4th, 2008 I was all happy stating the following: Google Chrome? Nah, we don’t need another hero. Today, on January 3rd I’ve just learned that Google Chrome has surpassed Apple Safari market share in the last month of the 2009. We are talking about the small percentage margin – Google Chrome is at 4,63% while Apple’s Safari is slightly behind at 4,46%. You can read more about this on Mashable.

Of course, market share is not an only safe and clear metrics that should be used as an argument for specific browser’s quality (marketing plays the significant role – learn from the Google Chrome story – heavily promoting the browser resulted in this, and if I really want to be mean and say that market share does not necessarily reflect the quality – then I should just refer to the Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. But to be honest, Internet Explorer 8 is a decent browser. Ones before IE 8 – those are the ones driving my designers and developers crazy.)

So what has changed?

A lot. Or not, really. Google Chrome has been heavily promoted by Google. Other than that – it’s been almost year and a half since its first version – changes have been expected and product has matured. Still – I believe that Chrome is significantly inferior browser when compared to the Firefox – no extensions (I’m aware that you can get them and they are currently beta), no good DOM explorer and number of other missing features. But it’s really fast. It’s JavaScript rendering engine and HTML rendering engines are good. It support’s (at least partially) some up-and-coming standards like CSS 3 (so does the Firefox, Internet Explorer 8 sucks at this big time)…

But in all honestly – I will repeat what I’ve said back then in September 2008 – if Chrome wasn’t built by Google – it would just another empty shot in the browser space. No one would really care. Need an example – how many of these browsers are significantly present on today’s market share: Maxthon, Konqueror, Shiira, SeaMonkey…

But man, Chrome is fast. Though it’s not going to be my heavy duty browser anytime soon – I’ll be honest: if I need to take a look at something really fast, Chrome IS actually my choice. If I need to do to some serious web design and development – then it’s Firefox (and for regular, longer web browsing sessions). If I need to pay my bills, salaries and other related stuff then it is Internet Explorer 8. Oh, IE 8 is also because I often just end up being there until my designer yells at me: “No, take a look how THE RIGHT browser renders that site, we will fix IE after that!”. Thanks Antun, but some habits don’t die easily.

Conclusion

Is there a one? Obviously Google Chrome is here and it’s here to stay. Chrome OS is coming as well and it is safe to bet that Google will increase its market share in the browser market. Firefox will slow down its growth a bit and Internet Explorer will continue to lose its market share well into the 2010 and probably beyond. Internet Explorer 9 might change that – but let’s stay and wait for that to happen. It’s 2010 and you still can’t render rounded rectangles with CSS 3. Get serious or get lost.

And Opera? Tried it. Tried to use it. Tried to sincerely like it. I’ve even tried to do something business related with it. And I failed. Well, now I hate it. End of the story here for me. I’m never going back in that direction.

So, at the end – do we need another hero? Maybe we don’t but I’m sure we will get some. If it is better than the previous ones or even if it is being marketed better than the previous ones then it will find its place on the browser share battlefield. Good thing about this? It might, just might, make the leaders run a bit faster and comply with relevant standards. I hate hearing Antun yelling at me: “Not that browser, THE RIGHT one!”.

THE RIGHT ONE, FTW!

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