Another Google milestone

The slow rise of Google continues. Their Android software is beginning to dominate the smartphone market, it's held off the challenge of Microsoft's Bing to remain the leading search engine, and it's finally launched its Facebook rival Google+ - to an enthusiastic response, at least in terms of user sign-ups.

And now comes the news that Google's Chrome browser, which has been steadily gaining market share over the last few years, has finally overtaken Mozilla's Firefox to become the UK's second favourite browser.

Vaguely depressingly, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still sitting pretty at number one, with 45% of the market. (It's measured by what browser people are actually using, not just which one - or ones - they have installed on their computers.) Chrome has squeezed into second place with 22%, just overtaking Firefox. The two have similar features, like tabbed browsing and lots of easily available extensions, but it's Internet Explorer that has mostly suffered - a few years ago it had almost the whole market to itself after seeing off 90s rival Netscape. It's also been hit by competition decisions, like the EU ruling last year which required Microsoft to add a 'browser ballot' screen to Windows asking users if they wanted to install additional browsers, and offering them the ability to remove IE.

Despite some nifty unique features, like a special easy-reading view, Apple's Safari browser remains fourth with just 9% of the market. We reckon that'll increase in future as more and more people get used to using Safari on their iPads, especially if Apple comes up with some sort of system for wireless syncing of bookmarks.

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