Debate whether Chrome or IE is top web browser still rages

Will we ever really know if Chrome or Internet Explorer is the most used desktop web browser in the world? Based on data collected in August from rival research firms StatCounter and Net Applications, it is still murky on how many copies of Google or Microsoft's rival browsers are in active use.

StatCounter, which uses unique page views as its basis, shows that for the month of August, Chrome users had the top web browser market share at 42.78 percent. IE comes in second with 25.55 percent, followed by Mozilla's Firefox with 19.25 percent. Safari, Opera and other browsers are well behind the top three.

Chrome, IE and Firefox are also on top on Net Applications' list for August 2013, but in completely different positions. The firm, which uses unique visitors when gathering its data, shows the IE family on top in August with 57.60 percent. Firefox is second with 18.88 percent and Chrome is third with 16 percent. Again, Safari, Opera and other web browsers are far behind the top three.

StatCounter has blasted Net Applications' data gathering methods in the past, claiming its use of 'geoweighting' to add more Internet users in other countries, such as China, has lead to inaccurate results. Microsoft, which has used Net Applications' data in the past to promote the growth of IE, claims that its methods offer a better look at overall world Internet use.

In terms of individual web browsers, Net Applications shows that IE8 is on top for August with 21.65 percent, followed by IE10 at 18.65 percent. Chrome 28 is third with 9.97 percent, followed by IE9 with 9.02 percent and Firefox 23 with 7.15 percent. StatCounter has Chrome 28 on top for the month at 28.03 percent, with IE10 at 11.3 percent, IE8 at 8.27 percent, Chrome 29 at 8.24 percent and Firefox 23 at 7.51 percent.

Source: StatCounter and Net Applications | Images via StatCounter and Net Applications

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I am using Firefox and is still satisfied with it. I have not tried the latest version of the other two but who cares. In my job, almost all students ask me, "why don't we have Chrome installed in our laboratory." It just mean to say, Chrome is indeed much preferred by most of our students. And sadly, some think (especially the freshmen), web surfing is only Google Chrome.

I'm not sure why people care. It's like talking trash about your favorite sports team but for geeks. I use them all for development and really there's almost no difference these days.

Firefox users leave a smaller footprint over the net using addons like ghostry, requestpolicy, etc etc, blocking all such irrelevant tracking; hence apparently trailing behind IE. Chrome on the other hand has all sorts of tracking & beacons enabled by default and there is no easy way to turn them completely off, besides the dirty deployment practices it has to get on all machines.

ShAsadAhmad said,
Firefox users leave a smaller footprint over the net using addons like ghostry, requestpolicy, etc etc, blocking all such irrelevant tracking; hence apparently trailing behind IE. Chrome on the other hand has all sorts of tracking & beacons enabled by default and there is no easy way to turn them completely off, besides the dirty deployment practices it has to get on all machines.
How does that matter? They counted whatever you have this on or of. It doesn't matter.

I hate Chrome on Surface Pro. Scrolling is bad. DPI scaling makes it ugly. To correct this you can switch to Windows 8 mode, but it will force change your default browser to Chrome.

Does it matter? I use Firefox and Safari on my Macs. Firefox and IE on my Windows 7 machines. Which one I choose that particular day, depends on where my finger feels like clicking.

Greetings from China. Here we have around 35% of the world's global internet and PC communities. Nobody here uses anything produced by Google (OK 2%). So if 35% of the world market wouldn't touch any Google product with a bargepole, how can it have 42% share? That would mean 63% of the people outside China use Chrome?

Fortunately, the Chinese don't have a word for "bollox".

whatever it is.. Chrome usage is quite impressive for a browser that does not come pre-installed in every Windows machine, that alone justify Chrome as a current top browser.

digitheatre said,
whatever it is.. Chrome usage is quite impressive for a browser that does not come pre-installed in every Windows machine, that alone justify Chrome as a current top browser.

Except that it does! I think HP is bundling Chrome with their computers, so do a handful of others.

digitheatre said,
whatever it is.. Chrome usage is quite impressive for a browser that does not come pre-installed in every Windows machine, that alone justify Chrome as a current top browser.

Chrome OS? I mean, the OS is the browser...

digitheatre said,
whatever it is.. Chrome usage is quite impressive for a browser that does not come pre-installed in every Windows machine, that alone justify Chrome as a current top browser.
HP, Medion, etc. Beside, Chrome comes with a lot of other software like Flash Player, CCleaner, etc. It's malware.

And all the tech genius/guru's that told everyone to ditch IE for Chrome the last 5 years, or Firefox the years before that.
Don't care myself, I don't want Google installed on my system personally. (even though I do enjoy Chrome in the form of Ironware).
And these marketshares of Chrome will just attract much more malware writers that will get distracted from making crap for IE or FF.
So hereby, I thank thee Google.

Only that it doesn't count the number of times people visit, but the number of unique visitors, and this information is collected for thousands of major shopping malls on the Internet, duplicates filtered out, and the results as a whole presented.

Sure, the analogy doesn't hold up if you block their tracking cookies, but I don't expect the number of people who actually do would account for more than a percent or two.

Northgrove said,
Only that it doesn't count the number of times people visit, but the number of unique visitors, and this information is collected for thousands of major shopping malls on the Internet, duplicates filtered out, and the results as a whole presented.

Sure, the analogy doesn't hold up if you block their tracking cookies, but I don't expect the number of people who actually do would account for more than a percent or two.


Errmm...Statcounter make a point of show VISITS not unique visitors. Net Applications are the ones who do unique visitors.

Northgrove said,
Only that it doesn't count the number of times people visit, but the number of unique visitors, and this information is collected for thousands of major shopping malls on the Internet, duplicates filtered out, and the results as a whole presented.

Sure, the analogy doesn't hold up if you block their tracking cookies, but I don't expect the number of people who actually do would account for more than a percent or two.


Statcounter doesn't count the unique visitors. It counts VISITS. One people visiting 1000 times counts 1000 times.

I really liked Chrome, but I stopped using it just out of rebellion as being Google everything started to make me sick with their tactics. I'm not gonna get all tin-foil hat guy on you all, but I really just don't have the respect for Google I once did.

With that said, I'm actually enjoying the new Firefox after having been away for a few years.

Ditto that on both counts. People like to get bent out of shape over charts versus making up their own minds, browser, OS, whatever, doesn't matter. Unless you've got a financial stake in the company, who cares.

That said, I wouldn't mind switching to Chromium if they allowed more flexibility to their addons... but as it stands, Firefox just clobbers it in that area and that's what's keeping me there. If somebody would make a browser that had Chromium's rendering engine with Firefox's interface and flexibility and IE's taskbar support I'd be all over that in a heartbeat.

Edited by Max Norris, Sep 2 2013, 12:19am :

techbeck said,
Screw the surveys...use what is best for you. I prefer Firefox

... and if you are helping another user, pick what is the most secure.
Right now that is IE9/10/11 by a significant advantage.

... and if you are helping another user, pick what is the most secure.
Right now that is IE9/10/11 by a significant advantage.

It really doesn't matter much as long as users are on the latest browser versions. The biggest holes are still the users themselves, followed by addons and plugins.

Relativity_17 said,

The biggest holes are still the users themselves,

Yes, it's so easy to get a virus if you are not cautious.

techbeck said,
Screw the surveys...use what is best for you. I prefer Firefox

This. I use all three and prefer each of them in their own way depending on what I'm doing.

Relativity_17 said,

It really doesn't matter much as long as users are on the latest browser versions. The biggest holes are still the users themselves, followed by addons and plugins.

Do some security research if you believe all browsers are created equally.

Since the introduction of IE9, IE has had few vulnerabilities and has also prevents 70% more phishing and socially engineered attacks than Chrome.

IE also uses a 'true' sandbox, not just a sandbox wrapper. This is why pwn2own was able to launch code through Chrome in May of 2012 that launched calc.exe. This type of code escalation is impossible in IE.

hehe, I still remember it took 1,5years before anyone was able to break out of the sandboxing of IE8.
7-8 months or so before anyone got outside IE9's sandboxing.
And I don't think anyone has been able to break outside IE10's sandboxing while running in full 64bit.

Chrome and Firefox have their issues left and right, people still claim its more secure. This stupidity just creates new IE6+24toolbar issues.

There is no way that Chrome is on top. People are just too uninformed and lazy to even think of downloading a different web browser. The average person doesn't even understand what the differences are of web browsers, so if one is preinstalled, that's what they use. Only geeks would actually have browser preferences.

With that said IE11 is great and I'm glad to see IE's share increasing. I also use Firefox which works very well for me.

Avatar Roku said,
The average person doesn't even understand what the differences are of web browsers, so if one is preinstalled, that's what they use. Only geeks would actually have browser preferences.

unfortuanantly, I'd have to say that this is incorrect - most of the people I've talked to will tell you that they don't really know much about computers, but the one thing they do know is that "IE sucks, install chrome!"
Might just be silicon valley, though, I have been to other places where people don't even recognize the chrome logo

You're saying this, but it was only a few weeks ago I had two middle-aged guys with no particular IT interest ask me how to get Chrome. Interestingly, it's never about any other browser. It's always about moving from IE to Chrome. I think it's much because Chrome is advertised on Google.com if you run IE.

Years ago it was all about moving from IE to Firefox.
Then Chrome came in the picture, taking out a big chunk of Firefox's market.

In IE6 or even IE7 days I'd suggest people to use Firefox or other. But since IE8/9 there is no real reason to switch browsers. Its mainly people's feel for supremacy and/or hatred/bias towards a company.

How much must it suck to be Opera when "Other" is beating you hands down in one poll and combining all the others puts you neck and neck with "Other" in the other poll. Opera can't even beat "Other" it seems.

I prefer to use IE as I like it better. The only reason I have chrome installed is because our company use Google apps piece of crap for company email. I even like Firefox better.

IE works great for me. Love having absolutely no ads on webpages.
Superfast, and loads instantly.
I just wish there was an IE app for Android.

IE crapware installs on most versions of windows. I can not stand it nor will I use it. I work on others people pc fixing them all day long. 95% of them use the junkfest called Internet Explore.

ozyborn said,
IE crapware installs on most versions of windows. I can not stand it nor will I use it. I work on others people pc fixing them all day long. 95% of them use the junkfest called Internet Explore.

I am just glad that I don't have to rely on your services! And I truly feel sorry for the few people that do!

In the past I would have agreed with you, but Internet Explorer while not my favorite browser to use, works quite fine. It is no longer a "junkfest" (except when people have installed stupid toolbars). Get off XP, that's where the junk lives the most.

Doesn't Chrome do website pre-loading (or something similar) which can lead to higher unique visitors than what actually existis?

I vaguely remember reading something about that...

Edit: Prefetching. Chrome prefetches pages as you type in the URL, thus giving you hits for pages that you are not actually visiting. Statcounter said it has a minimal impact, but does it really? I mean, each time you write something in Chrome, it's prefetching pages, counting each as unique page views. I don't believe that can be considered minimal, by the contrary, it makes a huge impact on the numbers!

I do use Chrome btw. It's just better than IE. Although IE since 10 is awesome.

Edited by Seketh, Sep 1 2013, 11:18pm :

How is website pre-loading shady? Not that I'm arguing with them doing shady stuff, but I hardly see that as being shady. Not to mention, there are other that do the same thing when loading pages.

farmeunit said,
How is website pre-loading shady? Not that I'm arguing with them doing shady stuff, but I hardly see that as being shady. Not to mention, there are other that do the same thing when loading pages.
As far as I know, Chrome is the only one to do this now, anyway, i gives them more Market share in de stats of StatCounter.

Lord Method Man said,
Yes. Google is well known for shady tactics like that.

It's a nice feature, as it makes page loading feel faster. I certainly wouldn't want my browser features to be restricted by StatCounter...

Lord Method Man said,
Yes. Google is well known for shady tactics like that.

How is a performance optimization shady? The point isn't to trick statistics, but to avoid having to start loading something when you follow a link.

Safari also prefetches, and Firefox as an opt-in.

StatCounter no longer includes Google Chrome prefetches in their statistics (since May 2012) since Google does allow them to be detected -- and excluded -- by target page code via the Page Visibility API.

StatCounter's stats
1. are not representative (raw numbers are not weighed to correct sample bias)
2. do not even try to count users or installed base, but page hits (where downloading 10 pages with the single browser counts 10 times, as compared to only downloading 1 page with a single browser, which is absolutely non-sense for determining market share)

Net Applications' stats
1. are representative (raw numbers are weighed to correct sample bias)
2. count only unique users (so stats are not skewed by heavy users vs. casual users)

Contrary to StatCounter's claims it's actually "weighing" = "compensating for sample bias" that makes a statistic representative, and without weighing you just have a bunch of numbers, that are completely useless, because you don't actually know what they count or measure, and how much skewed they are because of the unavoidable sample bias. That's 101 in statistics. (For that alone, ie. for stating the opposite of this from StatCounter's side it should be clear, that they really have no clue what they're doing, and how statistics actually work.)

Therefore StatCounter's numbers are useless to determine global market share (or local market share, for that matter). The source you can rely on in this regard is Net Applications.

It's that simple.

Edited by felrefordit, Sep 1 2013, 11:10pm :

None of them are representative and heavily biased towards of US.

Net Application might be adjusting, but it's still very poorely counting outside English countries.

StatCounter appears not to adjust their stats to internet active population.

You forgot to mention that Statcounter's stats are NOT page views, they are page downloads. When Chrome downloads a page in the background in case the user goes to that page next (and the user never sees) it counts as a page view in StatCounter, Net Applications ignores these.
Also if you open your browser with lots of tabs open and the browser loads all the pages but you only look at one of them, Net Applications (as of this month) filters them out, whereas StatCounter includes them. This is why Chrome has fallen significantly this month in NetApplications. Net Applications stated that 5.6% of all Chrome's "views" were in tabs that the user never looked at (this isn't even including the background download, which you've got to suspect is a much higher proportion of their traffic).

The reason why Chrome is the highest, is because they bundle it in with a lot of programs you install! I remember installing I believe Avast or something and I forgot to uncheck install google chrome!

farmeunit said,
Internet Explorer is installed with every Windows PC, so your logic is a little off . . .

At least you know you're getting IE from the start not some sneak install of chrome ith some other app you didn't ask for. I also missed the check box and had chrome installed when I installed flash of all things. I quickly uninstalled chrome after. It's like the old browser bar installs, a joke.

GP007 said,

At least you know you're getting IE from the start not some sneak install of chrome ith some other app you didn't ask for. I also missed the check box and had chrome installed when I installed flash of all things. I quickly uninstalled chrome after. It's like the old browser bar installs, a joke.


Shockwave includes it as well, but everytime you update shockwave, it enables auto update, even when you turn it off.

If there's a checkbox, it's not a sneak install. It's you guys not paying attention. I thought we were over this since the old browser toolbar boxes, being trained to check what installers actually tell you. I assume you guys also ended up with 10 browser toolbars in IE not understanding how they got there.

korupt_one said,
not in Europe it isn't.

I believe it is, we just have the browser ballot screen giving you an option to install another.

The "N" version of Windows comes without media player from what I remember.

Northgrove said,
If there's a checkbox, it's not a sneak install. It's you guys not paying attention. I thought we were over this since the old browser toolbar boxes, being trained to check what installers actually tell you. I assume you guys also ended up with 10 browser toolbars in IE not understanding how they got there.

Except as far as Flash goes it's a checkbox on the website and not during the install process itself like in the past. Still, let's call it user error, doesn't make it any less shady and to try and compare it to IE coming with Windows isn't the same. People expect to get a browser with a new computing device and have for a long time now.

InsaneNutter said,

I believe it is, we just have the browser ballot screen giving you an option to install another.

The "N" version of Windows comes without media player from what I remember.

Yup. And besides, being in Europe, I don't think I have ever seen the N version of windows... Take that back, my university offers both versions, I always take the normal one.

And yeah I have seen that with Flash and some other stuff, they give you extra software like Chrome but they ask you before you download the installer... oh hey look I installed Flash plug-in for my browser and I got an extra browser that's completely logical right ?

brpsycho said,

Yup. And besides, being in Europe, I don't think I have ever seen the N version of windows... Take that back, my university offers both versions, I always take the normal one.

And yeah I have seen that with Flash and some other stuff, they give you extra software like Chrome but they ask you before you download the installer... oh hey look I installed Flash plug-in for my browser and I got an extra browser that's completely logical right ?


You are aware those opt-out checkboxes are done on purpose to give many people their sense of freedom.
But many people will (mistakenly) click past it without noticing.

Also Google crap comes with piriform software, many (MANY) sourceforge downloads. Even McAfee's junk comes with it. Java, Flash.... jesus, what doesn't have Chrome included nowadays.

Shadowzz said,

You are aware those opt-out checkboxes are done on purpose to give many people their sense of freedom.
But many people will (mistakenly) click past it without noticing.

And sometimes it's only shown if you click "for advanced users."