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Speed and Security Change Browser Landscape

5 May 2010 by Stephen McNamara

A recent study by NetApplications has revealed that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is continuing to lose market share while Google Chrome has seen a sharp rise in popularity.

Experts are largely attributing the shift to the security concerns surrounding IE, combined with the successful advertising and ever faster new releases from Google. That’s right; it seems speed is an important factor yet again.

While Internet Explorer held a huge 95 per cent of the market share in 2003, today’s study reveals that it now has only 60 per cent.

Google Chrome however may have a comparatively small 6.7 per cent of the market, but this marks a vast increase on the 1.7 per cent they held last year.

Gartner researcher Jeffrey Mann said there could be several reasons behind the demise of internet explorer.

“There are more viable alternatives now.” he said, “Google has been advertising and there is just a great awareness that there are alternatives.”

He went on to say that the recent security issues with IE 6 could have also played a role as many people using this version of the browser were advised to find an alternative.

“There were a lot of people using IE6 and some will have said that if they are going to change, they may as well look at some alternatives,” he stated.

With Google advertising Chrome heavily, and the “browser ballot” in Europe offering millions of consumers the chance to change their browser easily, it is clear to see why the market has begun to shift.

The news of this shift has proved to be rather timely as Google announced the release of another, even speedier Chrome offering earlier this week.

According to Google, the new beta version represents a 30 to 35 per cent rise in performance across the two of the most important browser benchmarks, the V8 Benchmark Suite and the SunSpider Benchmark.

Seth Rosenblatt of CNET said in his review of the new Chrome release: “Chrome 4 is blazingly fast, more stable than previous versions, and introduces support for extensions, bookmark syncing, and some HTML5 innovations.”

He continued: “Chrome’s interface is a drastic departure from other browsers. Minimal design with sophisticated technology make the Web faster, safer, and easier.” And it seems that these qualities are exactly what customers are now demanding of their internet browsers.

Jeffrey Mann feels that Microsoft may remain dominant in the browser market for quite some time, however he predicts a “long, slow rise” for rivals to Internet Explorer.