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Can Google’s Chrome Browser Beat Mozilla’s Firefox?

by: - Last updated on: December 17th, 2016

Some years ago, we wouldn’t even suspect that Google will jump into the competitive market of online browsers. For the tech savvy, Firefox was the best solution before Chrome appeared on the market; Internet Explorer being considered the choice of those that don’t value too much their security or amateur users. There was and still is the Opera browser and for Apple users, the Safari browser, that is constantly updated for an obvious reason – so that Apple users wouldn’t have the smallest reason to switch sides with another browser.

Chrome Browser: How it all Started

We can say for sure that the Chrome Browser is still very young and has all “its life” ahead to crush its competitors. Firefox, for example, was launched in 2003 and Internet Explorer has been the default Windows browser since 1995, and since then, it still holds the first place in the web browsers share worldwide. But who knows more about the web than Google itself?

The engineers at Google built the Chrome browser on the WebKit layout engine. It will surprise you to know that the same layout engine is being used in the Safari browser, which is also known for its fast response and speed. So, in terms of internal architecture, Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari are not just competitors but “brothers”. The first stable public version of the Chrome browser was made in December 2008, which means that Chrome’s “life” actually started in 2009. It seems that the team at Google started the work at the Chrome OS system back then, as well. Since the launch, even the Chrome logo has changed; we all know how much Google values the simple looks.


old google chrome logo

Did you know that Sergey Brin and Larry Page actually hired some developers from Mozilla and they built together a demonstration of what Chrome is now? They did this in order to persuade Eric Schimdt, Google’s CEO at that time, who wasn’t too convinced that they need to enter the “bruising browser wars”. One year after the public release, in December 2009, Google launched the official versions for Mac OS X and Linux, as well. Thus, the release was complete.

Chrome: Gaining Success and Becoming a Threat

It seems that the WebKit layout engine is the main thing that makes Chrome so fast; and you’ll be surprised to find out that it was actually suggested by the Android team. There was even know-how taken from the engineers at Adobe in the making of Google’s Chrome, not to mention that Chrome has been tested a lot before even the first demo was released. Just take a look at the graphic below to see how fast Google Chrome has climbed up the browser ladder.

browser share market

Indeed, there are some incredible numbers that we see in this graph. Guess which other browser has maintained a steady increase in its market share? That’s right, Safari, based on the same WebKit like Google’s Chrome. As you can see, Chrome has gained in one year more than 20% of the market share, which is actually a huge number in such a short time. If we were to believe these stats , then it means that in less than 2 years, the Chrome browser has been adopted by almost 500 million people. Where will Chrome be after 2 more years?

Chrome versus Firefox

You will see dozens of graphics and statistics that will indicate you different numbers. Before jumping into conclusions, you should know a quote that I like a lot

“Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures”

So, going by that logic, I’ll ask you a simple question: what browser are you using and why? Feel free to answer in the comment section below.

The Battle of Numbers

Judging by the majority of recent statistics, we can say for sure that Google Chrome has become a real threat for Firefox. It’s not yet a challenger for Internet Explorer, not because it doesn’t have the necessary tools but because the mass adoption of Internet Explorer is easied by the fact that Windows is still the leader in computer operating systems. Firefox has been the best alternative for the Internet Explorer browser for quite a long time now. Firefox is based on the Gecko layout engine, built by Mozilla. It is followed by WebKit and Presto (used in Opera); Internet Explorer’s Trident is still the leader.

Find below a graph made by Wikipedia, it shows the share of browser users that have visited Wikipedia (since Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world, we can consider them a credible source).

wikimedia browser usage

Judging by these numbers, Firefox is only 4,5 % ahead of Chrome, with Safari following at 11% and Opera with 4,8%. Internet Explorer’s share has dropped to 35.5%. How much time will it take Chrome to reach Firefox and then to take its place. Will the final battle be held between Chrome and Internet Explorer, Google and Microsoft?

We could continue the logic of the graphic brought to us by the well-known statistics company, Stat Counter. Here is how the browser market could look in the next 2 years.

future market share of browsers

This is just a prediction and possibility of what things could look like. Of course, if Microsoft manages to cement Internet Explorer under security and they manage to profit from the mass adoption, they could stop the market share drop and maintain the first place. The same thing could happen to Firefox if the team at Mozilla manages to make it somehow more quicker and user friendly, just like Chrome seems to be. Otherwise, the market share of browsers could look something like this.

  1. 40%, Google Chrome
  2. 30%, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer
  3. 20%, Firefox

The Battle of Features

But wait a minute, why exactly is Google climbing so fast? What are the features that make it that powerful against Firefox, and what are Mozilla’s browsers minuses that Chrome is smart enough to crunch on? We will try and enlist them below for a more comprehensive exposure.

  • Speed: even if Firefox releases update after update, it seems that they can’t fight Chrome, which shows a better speed and very fast response, making the browsing a very pleasant experience.
  • Loading time: you open your computer and the first thing you want to do is check the news or verify an urgent mail, because you are in a hurry. You click on the Firefox icon and you wait for almost 5 seconds. The next time you will open the computer, you are going to delete Firefox and search a better alternative.
  • Interface: let’s face it, we love Google because they know how to keep everything very simple. That was the same philosophy on which Chrome has been built as well. The minimal interface, yet elegant design keeps attracting users, while Firefox’s design seems to take the wrong path.

Chrome can lead the browser market, because it seems that Google leads the entire web, and, soon, it will enter also the smartphone market, after the Motorola deal. Will Google manage to become the leader in this market or Mozilla and Microsoft will know how to enhance their browsers and resist to the challenge? What’s your pick?

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  1. From personal experience Firefox is downloaded and installed by people who want to use the browser. Chrome is bundled in with numerous Google and other products and is often downloaded by mistake. Several of my customers believe Chrome is a virus as they do not know where it came from or how to get rid of it. I have no doubt that Chrome is also downloaded by people who genuinely want to use it but until Firefox is tucked into the instal setup of other programs and is also installed in error I don’t think you can compare the two. Only IE is comparable at the present time due to this.

  2. Hi there,

    Just wanted to say something about the prediction of the author. I doubt a bit that the graph will go that straight upwards as the author believes or hopes. That’s at least what I read from the latest stat reports on http://gs.statcounter.com/ (worldwide usage over 1 year). Chrome gained a around 1.5 per cent almost every month in the last year except the latest months where it where 1% in August and “only” .5% in September. So maybe it’s calming down a bit. And I actually hope so. Chrome is a great browser, but Google is a very information hungry company and there are many articles out there about this little issue. I must confess, that I am still a Firefox fan, though. For cross-browser testing I personally use “Iron” from srware based on Chromium but without the “spy” character http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron_download.php.

    And I even try to use more often the more secure search engine http://ixquick.com

    Don’t get me wrong I love a lot of stuff Google does, but I always try to be cautious about monopolies, personal data and facts like “What if … in future Google/Apple/… gets run by someone less nice who than still has all my data?”

    Cheerio

  3. I use FireFox. But, I use Chrome also when I want to do a search. I do not now, nor will I ever again, use IE.

    Why FireFox? I like the options on the menu bar. I am used to them and feel that even though Chrome is a little faster, I can wait for FireFox to load so I can do things I cannot do with Chrome.

    BTW, when a new version of Chrome comes along and there is a download and automatic installation, they do a very poor job of deleting the old version. I have to go in manually and delete folders and files from the older versions.

    XP SP3

  4. Beside chrome and safari based on same Webkit engine. Chrome has added n number of features to it, such as extension framework, new process for each tab and plugins. This make chrome first choice for me.