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​ZDNet readers love their Chrome web browser

Just like most US users, ZDNet readers have made Chrome their web browser of choice. What's surprising is the next most popular browsers, in order, are Firefox, Safari, and, believe it or not, only then IE.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

ZDNet readers and American web users agree. Google Chrome is their favorite web browser. While 34.7 percent of the US public prefers Chrome, a near identical 35 percent of ZDNet readers also use Google's desktop web browser.

ZDNet's readers love the Chrome web browser.
For years, NetMarketShare has insisted that Internet Explorer (IE) was the top web browser. Indeed, in its web browser popularity listings for February 2015, it has IE maintaining a firm 57.4 percent lead over Chrome at 24.7 percent. Recently, we've had reasons to doubt NetMarketShare's numbers, and these results from the US government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP) make its numbers look even less reliable. StatCounter, NetMarketShare's long-time rival, shows web browser numbers more in line -- 53.3 percent for Chrome, 20.75 percent for IE in February -- with the federal government and ZDNet's results.

If you count Chrome Mobile's results, Chrome's lead gets even stronger. Chrome Mobile, found mostly on Android smartphones and tablets, makes up 9.9 percent of all ZDNet visitors. Added together, that puts Chrome up to 44.9 percent.

While it may appear that Safari is our second place web browser, that result is misleading. True, Safari 8.0 with 9.2 percent is in second place for individual web browser version. But Mac OS X's Safari total 14.5 percent of unique visits to ZDNet is only good enough for third place.

Second place actually goes to Firefox with a cumulative total of 15.6 percent. That's higher than the general public. Only 11 percent of Americans visiting government web sites use Firefox.

IE? In a shocking result, IE came in fourth. With 8.3 percent using IE 11; 1.9 percent still using IE 9; 1.4 percent sticking with IE 10; and 1.1 percent hanging on to IE 8, the desktop versions of IE only totaled 12.7 percent. There were essentially no IE 7 or below users visiting ZDNet.

If you count IE's mobile versions -- IE 11, 0.7 percent and IE 10, 0.2 percent -- IE moves up to 13.6 percent. That still leaves it behind Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Most users who aren't wedded to Chrome by DAP's count still use IE with 28.3 percent. By Ed Bott's calculations, IE's desktop popularity with the American public is even higher at 41.5 percent.

Part of this result is because just over a quarter of ZDNet's readers are now reading it from smartphones and tablets. On these devices, 14.6 percent are using iOS with 11.8 percent using. Android. It's a safe assumption that the iPhone and iPad owners are almost exclusively using Safari and the vast majority of Android device owners are using Chrome. Indeed, only 3.1 percent of ZDNet visitors are using Android Browser.

These results underline how dominant Chrome has quietly become with ZDNet's technology-savvy web users and how the race for second place has become a scramble.

ZDNet's numbers also shows that while mobile devices aren't replacing desktops, they are becoming increasingly important. The results also demonstrate how iOS and Android really don't have significant competition in mobile.

On the desktop alone, I'm sure IE would be in third place. I'm not certain about second. While Firefox can be used on Android devices, it has even less mobile presence than IE Mobile.

As for the less popular web browsers, such as Opera? They simply have no representation among ZDNet's readers.

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