Chrome at 10 days: After a fast rise, use stabilizes among Computerworld readers

Some readers try new Google browser, go back to using something else

Ten days after Google Inc. launched Chrome, the percentage of readers using it to reach Computerworld's Web site has dropped from a peak of 9.7% right after the browser was released and stabilized at between 5% and 6%.

Computerworld's data mirrored the trend pegged by Net Applications, a U.S.-based Web analytics vendor that has been tracking Chrome's market share since the browser first appeared. Net Applications' hour-by-hour logs also show Chrome's numbers declining slightly from last week.

Chrome, which Net Applications had at a 1% share within hours of its launch, peaked at Computerworld with 9.7% on Sept. 3, the day after its debut.

On Sept. 4, Chrome grabbed third position, accounting for more visits to computerworld.com than Apple Inc.'s Safari. It could not hold that spot, however, slipping to 5.7% the next day, behind Safari's 7.4%.

Although it recovered over the weekend -- reaching 6.5% on Saturday and 6.6% on Sunday -- Chrome's share of Computerworld visitors dropped again to 5.7% on Monday, then ticked up to 6% the next day before falling again to 4.8% on Wednesday. Through about midday today, Chrome accounted for 5% of the browsers used to reach the site.

However, Computerworld's numbers differ from those generated by Net Applications in one important aspect. Where the latter argued that Chrome's gain had come exclusively at the expense of Internet Explorer -- and that others, including Firefox, Safari and Opera, also stole share from IE -- Computerworld's data showed that Google's share came at the expense of both IE and Firefox.

Comparing the average share of IE, Firefox and Safari before Chrome debuted to the average share after showed that, at computerworld.com, Google's browser ate into the numbers of both IE and Firefox. Microsoft's browser, for example, dropped 5.5 percentage points, while Firefox slumped 2.4 percentage points.

Apple's Safari went against the grain by boosting its share by 1.6 percentage points from its pre-Chrome average.

The fact that Firefox joined IE in giving up share wasn't surprising, since Computerworld, like many technology sites, regularly counts a much higher percentage of Firefox users than the Internet average. Specifically, Firefox's share on Computerworld is more than double the Web average as tallied by Net Applications for August.

Google launched Chrome as a beta for Windows XP and Vista last week. The browser can be downloaded from here.

Computerworld also tracked the course of IE8, which was updated by Microsoft Corp. to Beta 2 on Aug. 27. IE8 -- both Beta 1 and the newest Beta 2 -- was only slightly affected by the debut of Chrome. Before Google Chrome, IE8 accounted for 1.4% of the browsers used to visit the site; after Chrome's launch, IE8's share declined slightly, to 1.1%.

Google Chrome Chart

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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