Google's Chrome drops share for second straight month

Web tracking firm Net Applications acknowledges it had over-counted Chrome's use

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Currently, Firefox is the top result of such searches, while Opera Software's Opera is third, Apple's Safari is fifth and IE is seventh.

IE lost just over one-tenth of a percentage point to account for 52.8% of all browsers used on desktop and notebook personal computers, while Firefox stayed flat at 20.9%.

Safari's share grew the most of any browser last month, adding three-tenths of a percentage point to reach 5.2%, an all-time high in Net Applications' tracking. Safari's spike wasn't a surprise: The share of Mac OS X, whose users also comprise the bulk of Safari's users, climbed by a record amount last month, too.

Among the multiple editions of IE, the 11-year-old IE6 lost the most share, falling by more than a percentage point to 6.9%, while the newer IE7 fell to 4.7%.

Meanwhile, IE8 and IE9 gained four-tenths of a point and almost a full point, respectively. IE9 saw its share climb to 12.6% worldwide.

IE9 on Windows 7, which Microsoft again said was its "core metric", now accounts for 30.1% of the world's browsers used on that operating system, and owns a 40.5% share of the Windows 7 browser market in the U.S.

On Wednesday, Microsoft issued the fifth so-called "Platform Preview" of IE10, the next browser in its line, as part of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The preview -- essentially an alpha edition -- also runs on Windows 7, but will not work on either Windows XP or Vista.

Net Applications has not yet begun tracking IE10 share.

Rival Irish measurement company StatCounter painted a gloomier picture of IE's position, saying that Microsoft's browser had dropped 1.7 points to 35.8%, while Chrome was in the No. 2 spot with 29.8% -- an increase of 1.4 points -- and Firefox held steady at third with 24.9%.

Net Applications calculates browser usage share with data obtained from more than 160 million unique visitors who browse 40,000 Web sites that the company monitors. More browser statistics can be found on the company's site.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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