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Chrome 15 tops IE8 as the world's most popular browser

Google's Chrome 15 browser is currently the most-used browser in the world, according to new data from Web analytics firm StatCounter.

StatCounter reports that Chrome 15 captured 23.6% of the worldwide market in the last week of November, nudging out Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8, which took 23.5% of the market. The only browser versions that come close to matching Explorer 8 and Chrome 15 are Mozilla's Firefox 8, which took a 12.12% market share in the last week of November, and Internet Explorer 9.0, which grabbed a 10.3% share.

BROWSER WARS: IE vs. Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Safari vs. Opera

RELATED: Chrome takes No. 2 browser spot from Firefox

Internet Explorer is still the most-used overall browser in the world, however, as various versions of IE were used by roughly 40% of Web users in the last week of November. Chrome came in second place worldwide with just over 26% of the global market share, followed closely by Firefox, which took 25% of the global market share. Browsers such as Apple's Safari and Opera both accounted for less than 10% of mobile browser use worldwide.

StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said that Chrome has had recent success in gaining acceptance in the enterprise as more people are using the browser during the workweek. He also noted that IT departments have quickly adapted to supporting and managing an alternative to Internet Explorer.

"Google announced Chrome for business exactly a year ago and IT administrations appear to have embraced it in a remarkably short time," he said. "Chrome 15 overtook IE8 for the first time during the five-day working week in the week commencing Dec. 5. It looks as if people favor Chrome on weekends at home but office commercial use has now caught up."

Google has been pushing Chrome not just as a Web browser but as a Web-based operating system that will store vital user data in the cloud to keep ample hard drive space open on Chrome-based laptops. Google is billing the platform as a low-maintenance alternative to Windows as the operating system's reliance on the Web for data storage means that it can boot up in less than 10 seconds and it can push out updates automatically whenever you turn on your computer.

Microsoft this week indicated it is prepping IE to counter at least one previous edge for Chrome on the security front: Microsoft next year will change its automated update process for IE to push out the latest version of the browser without the notification-style install prompt presented to the end user today. Chrome has had automatic, no-questions-asked updates since its release in 2008.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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