When Google announced the release of its own web browser Chrome in 2008, many people asked themselves why Google was building a web browser.
In retrospect, the better question would have been, why Google hadn’t built a web browser earlier. After all, the company’s entire business was people using a browser to access Google’s services.
As a matter of fact, as Statista’s Martin Armstrong reports, the plan to make a Google web browser had existed for years, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt just hadn’t considered his company ready to enter the resource draining ‘browser wars’. By 2008, Google was making billions of dollars a year and had finally matured enough to go head to head with Microsoft and it’s market dominating Internet Explorer.
15 years ago, on September 2, 2008, the first official release of Chrome was published and the open-source browser began its steady climb through the ranks. By the third quarter of 2009, Chrome had caught up with Apple’s Safari and set its sights on the next contender: Firefox. It took a bit longer to catch up with Firefox, but in the fourth quarter of 2011, Chrome’s share of global web browsing surpassed that of Firefox. Less than a year later, Chrome became the world’s number one browser, overtaking Microsoft’s Internet Explorer which had utterly dominated the market just five years earlier.
Remarkably, Chrome’s ascent came almost entirely at the expense of Microsoft’s browser. Since the third quarter of 2008, Internet Explorer’s market share dropped from 68 to 25 percent, while Chrome’s soared from zero to 43 percent. Today, Internet Explorer’s successor, Edge, commands just 5 percent of the global market, while Chrome is sitting at the top of the pile with a slice of the pie consistently and securely above the 60 percent mark – the nearest competitor being Safari with 20 percent in August 2023.
According to data from web-tracking firm StatCounter, Chrome is the world’s number 1 internet browser. Between July and August 2023, Chrome was used by 63.6 percent of internet users worldwide. Safari ranked in second place, having been used by just under 20 percent of the world’s online community. Edge (5.4 percent), Firefox (2.9 percent), Opera (2.7 percent) and Samsung (2.3 percent) trail much further behind.
Regionally, Chrome is particularly popular in South America where it has a browser market share of 78.9 percent. In Europe and North America, the share is comparatively lower, at 58.6 percent and 53.1 percent, respectively. The United States’ Chrome market share was only marginally below North America’s regional average, with the browser seeing a 51.7 percent use rate, followed by Safari (30.8 percent), Edge (8.4 percent), Opera (3.5) percent, Firefox (3.5) percent and Samsung Internet (1.1 percent).
Safari ranks as the most prevalent web browser in a number of smaller countries and islands, including North Korea (90.99 percent), Bermuda (92.7 percent), the Faroe Islands (78.52 percent) and Andorra (56.9 percent), while Armenia is one of the only countries worldwide to favor Firefox (Firefox was 55 percent of the online population, Chrome 31.9 percent and Safari 8.7 percent).
Africa is the only continent where Safari does not take second place, but is pushed to third after competitor Opera.