Google Chrome Passes Safari in Browser Share

Apple's Safari Web browser lost its third place market share slot to Google Chrome in December 2009, ending a multi-year run as the third most popular Web browser according to data from Net Applications.

Chrome's lead over Safari isn't by much with 4.63 percent of the market compared to Safari's 4.46 percent. If, however, Chrome can continue to outpace Safari's growth, it won't take long for that gap to widen.

December also marks the first month where Google Chrome has officially been available for Mac OS X, adding the browser to the cros--platform mix.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer continued it's long term decline to drop down to 62.69 percent of the browser market -- the lowest the Windows-only browser has managed to hit to date. Firefox continued its general upward trend in December with 24.61 percent of the market.

Web browser usage statistics are gathered from a subset of Web sites, so the data represents only a rough estimate of the actual number of people surfing the Web with a specific application. Based on the overall trends, however, it looks like Web surfers are still losing interest in Microsoft's browser offering and interest in Google's Chrome browser is growing.