Google Chrome surpassed Apple Safari to become the world's third most popular Web browser, according to a report from Internet analytics firm Net Applications.
Google Chrome, which has been around only for 15 months, accounted for 4.63 percent of browser usage in December, up from 3.93 percent in November. While Apple Safari slightly grew its share of browser usage to 4.46 percent last month from 4.36 percent in November, the increase wasn't enough to keep pace with Google Chrome's gains, leaving Apple Safari in fourth place.
Microsoft Internet Explorer remains the 800-pound gorilla in the browser market, holding a market share of 62.69 percent in December. But that was down from 63.62 percent in November, continuing a long, slow decline. In February, for example, IE held a market share of just less than 70 percent, according to Net Applications.
Mozilla's Firefox browser still holds second place with a 24.61 percent share, down slightly from 24.72 percent in November. But the overall trend for the open-source browser has been on the rise, up from 22.58 percent in February.
Opera, with a 2.40 market share in December, rounds out the top five list of most popular browsers. There is a long list of browsers that have less than a 1 percent market share.
Net Applications bases its statistics on the browsers used by some 160 million visitors to a network of Web sites that subscribe to the company's services. http://marketshare.hitslink.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=0