Google Chrome sneaks past Internet Explorer to become top browser

Chrome is now officially No. 1, according to Web tracker Net Market Share, as Microsoft's IE continues to lose traction.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
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Google Chrome has won the browser wars.

Net Market Share

Watch out Microsoft. Google has stolen first place in the browser arena.

For the month of April, Google Chrome took home a 41.6 percent share of all desktop browser traffic picked up by Web tracker Net Market Share, up from 39 percent in March. Over the same time, Internet Explorer's share dropped to 41.3 percent from 43.4 percent. This marks the first time Chrome has surpasssed IE to assume the top spot, at least in the eyes of Net Market Share.

While the browser battles aren't as intense as they once were, browser makers continue to fiddle with their approaches. Most dramatically, after years of riding IE's dominance, Microsoft is moving on with the more modern Edge browser in Windows 10. Meanwhile, stalwarts like Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome get their share of streamlining and updating, and every once in a while, a brand-new entry pops up, like the Vivaldi browser launched earlier this year.

The growth for Chrome is especially impressive as IE comes bundled as the default browser with every version of Windows except for 10. Windows users who want Google Chrome must manually install it and choose it as their default browser.

At the same time, Firefox's appeal has been plummeting, according to Net Market Share. Mozilla's browser saw a market share of 9.7 percent last month, down from 10.5 percent the prior month. Firefox has been mired in third place since March of 2014.

Google Chrome has actually been in first place since 2012, according to fellow Web tracker StatCounter, which puts Firefox in second and Internet Explorer in third. Why the difference?

Each Web tracker uses its own somewhat unique methods and sources to determine Web traffic data. For example, Net Applications counts unique visitors per day rather than page views, covers around 40,000 websites and has a stronger presence in certain countries than other Web trackers. StatCounter analyzes the overall volume of Web traffic and tracks more than 3 million sites around the world.