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Chrome Drops Safari Into Fourth Place Among Browsers

Computerworld reports on data from research firm Net Applications showing that Google's Chrome browser has slipped past Apple's Safari to snag third place in worldwide Internet browser market share behind Internet Explorer and Firefox. The surge comes on the heels of the official release of beta versions of Chrome for both Mac and Linux.

According to Net Applications, which tracks the browser habits of 160 million unique visitors each month to the 40,000 sites it monitors for customers, Chrome's share jumped to 4.4% for the week of Dec. 6-12, an increase of 0.4 percentage points over Google's slice of the browser pie for the month of November.

Chrome's share during the week topped Safari's 4.37%, said Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of Net Applications. "It appears that Chrome has made a substantial surge in usage market share," Vizzaccaro said in an e-mail.

Chrome reportedly experienced a four-fold jump in market share on Mac with the release of the beta version, which marked a milestone release for a product that had previously been available only as developer preview releases. Some of the growth is undoubtedly due to curious users simply trying out Chrome for the first time before switching back to their primary browser, but Chrome's official beta status will likely continue to attract new users going forward.

Benchmarks have shown that Chrome, which is based on the same WebKit engine used by Safari, performs well when it comes to speed on Mac OS X, but is lacking a number of features that will not make their appearances until later beta releases.