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Google Chrome has just overtaken Safari as the 3rd most-popular browser in the US. This finding comes from StatCounter, an analytics company which aggregates stats from over 3 million websites. According to their data, Chrome is being used by 8.97% of the U.S. population - marginally more than Safari's 8.88% market share. Gizmodo notes that Chrome has already overtaken Safari globally, currently at 9% of the international market share versus 4%. Chrome's growth even threatens Mozilla Firefox, which can't seem to hit 25% market share due to its growing popularity. Chrome didn't exist 2 years ago, but is already out-pacing Apple's 7-year-old browser!

Under the hood, Chrome and Safari both use the open-source Webkit engine to turn HTML code into the visual pages we use. Both Google and Apple use Webkit in their mobile browsers and make several contributions back into the source code. Its interesting how these two competitors are essentially 'collaborating' on the same core, using this in both desktop and mobile browsers, yet Google is growing at a rapid rate.

But not everything is equal. Chrome does implement a faster JavaScript engine (V8) which enables Web 2.0 sites and applications (like Google Docs or Facebook) to perform better. It has less bells and whistles and uses less system resources, making the user experience seem faster. (Its even faster than a pototo cannon!!) What it lacks in extra features it makes up for with a dead-simple UI, enhanced security, and better stability. If a page crashes in Firefox, the whole browser crashes. Chrome puts each page in a 'sandbox', so if one acts up it won't affect the others. Google's dedication to innovation is a major factor driving its increase in market share.

Internet Explorer used to be the dominant browser and still maintains its #1 spot. But alternative browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are definitely gaining traction. I personally like Chrome best for casual browsing, but use all 4 major browsers for web development. I highly suggest you check out different browsers and see which one best fits your needs.

[Business Wire via Gizmodo]