Well, it’s official. Or at least it’s official if you believe in StatCounter’s data. Google’s Chrome web browser has overtaken Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. For real this time. Maybe. The stat-counting firm compiled data for the week of May 14th through May 20th, showing that Chrome had a market share of 32.76%, compared with IE’s 31.94%. This isn’t the first time that Chrome has gotten ahead, however. And the race itself is close – perhaps too close to call.
At the start of this week, Chrome dipped back down to 31.88% market share, which was only a bit ahead of IE’s 31.47%. There’s also the big concern regarding StatCounter’s data. As Microsoft (of course) has pointed out before, these aren’t necessarily numbers you can take to the bank. Last month, when Chrome briefly won the weekend battle, Microsoft downright ranted about the quality of StatCounter’s data on its official blog. (It appeared, at the time, that Chrome usage surged on weekends, proving that users liked Chrome better when they had a choice – outside of I.T. control at work, that is).
Microsoft noted that StatCounter doesn’t adjust for pre-rendering (loading pages in the background which the user never sees and may never even click on), nor does it “geoweight” the data to paint a more accurate picture of worldwide usage. Instead, with StatCounter, it’s just raw data. Microsoft also said that if browser share had been weighted appropriately, it wouldn’t have been such a close race.
But StatCounter says that, as of May 1st, it has been adjusting its browser stats to remove the effect of pre-rendering in Google Chrome. From that point on, pre-rendered pages (which are not actually viewed) have not included in its stats. Say what now, Microsoft?
While those discrepancies are notable, it’s still worth mentioning that IE’s share has been steadily dropping for some time. StatCounter may just be the canary in the coal mine indicting the bigger shift ahead.