Google Chrome's Shine Is Fading

Sep 23, 2008 (03:09 PM EDT)

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Google's Chrome Web browser, which gained market share quickly within the first 24 hours of its release, has been steadily giving up its gains to Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, a Web metrics firm said Tuesday.

During the first day of its release Sept. 2, Google Chrome rocketed to 1% of the market, Net Applications said. Since then, the upstart browser has fallen to 0.77% as of last week, with the losses shared evenly between IE and Firefox.

"A bunch of people gave it a quick try, and its share has been sliding ever since," Vince Vizzaccaro, executive VP of marketing for Net Applications, told InformationWeek.

Last week, IE's share stood at 71.48%; Firefox, 19.42%; and Apple's Safari, 6.73%. Apple's browser has been immune to Chrome's entry, because the latter doesn't run on the Mac operating system, Vizzaccaro said.

Net Applications believes fewer people are using Chrome out of concern with the amount of user data Google would gather through the browser, Vizzaccaro said. However, the executive also noted that Google launched Chrome quietly without a big marketing campaign, which could also affect the browser's ability to hold market share.

"If they take a marketing approach, I could see Chrome gain some traction," he said. "If not, then I could see it slowly fading away."

Many analysts believe that Google is not interested in waging a market-share battle with rivals, but launched Chrome as a front end for the search engine's online applications, which compete with Microsoft's Office software suite.

Net Applications bases its findings on the browsers used by visitors to 2 million Web sites worldwide.