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Firefox 3.5 Now World's Most Popular Browser

Gordon Kelly


Firefox 3.5 Becomes World's Most Popular Browser

Now here's a sweet, sweet headline that sadly isn't likely to stick around long: Firefox 3.5 is the most popular web browser in the world. At least for the next few weeks...

This news is broken to us by the number crunchers at StatCounter which show Mozilla's browser has overtaken fast falling Internet Explorer 7. This is something of a false position, however, since it simply represents the drop-off of IE7 while IE8 catches up. That said, growth in IE8 has dropped off recently and perhaps the Windows browser ballot screen will scupper it further.

As for everyone else, the most notable mover is Google Chrome - an unsurprising development given the recent launch of third party extensions and a number of updates and speed boosts. In fact recent growth in Chrome has easily outpaced the relatively static market shares of its rivals (below), which is ominous given creator Google's development resources. Indeed, I'm a (very contented) recent Chrome convert after five years with Firefox (it's sooo fast!).

For those who like to check such matters, StatCounter tracks codes on three million websites (totalling five billion page views) to bring us this data. Expect it to report IE8 back on top in the near future, but like Firefox's headline today, that victory looks an increasingly shallow one.


StatCounter Browser Global Stats

StatCounter Top Five Global Browsers


December 22, 2009, 5:39 am

Obviously a browser ballot box will not boost firefox users, those wanting it would be using it by now. The awareness of it is very high, even those not very browser literate. Chrome has been out a while now, but it's still the "new kid on the block" and has an edge over rivals, by being intuitive and extremely well designed.

At the moment, it won't swing many IE familiar users, but could pull some momentum from firefox.


December 22, 2009, 6:43 am

hated IE since forever,fell in love with firefox until it started that wierd 100% cpu thing.went with chrome this last year...but this last couple of weeks i get flash crashing every 5 minutes plus the wierd chrome thing when you type into box and nothing happens.

wieghing it all up i think it will be minefield from the new year.


December 22, 2009, 7:28 am

@darkspark88 - good point re Firefox. I suspect mainstream users faced with a ballot screen will only recognise Microsoft and Google, so Chrome could be a major winner there.

@betelgeus - I was on Minefield with GPU rendering (http://www.trustedreviews.com/... prior to my Chrome switch.

It's fast (though not Chrome fast), but is very unstable and I find text to display in a slightly blurry manner. It and Jetpack (http://www.trustedreviews.com/... do look the future for FF though.

Oliver Levett

December 22, 2009, 10:42 am

I think this may be demonstrating that FF users keep up to date better... The total of IE users (IE7+IE8) is still greater than FF users (FF2+FF3.0+FF3.5) and that's what actually matters.


December 22, 2009, 11:10 am

@Oliver - and that's what I explicitly spell out in the story ;)

Martin Daler

December 22, 2009, 12:53 pm

I stick with Firefox because of Adblock Plus (sorry Ed et al.). But it drives me mad with the "waiting for {website}" thing, which means I can't use it for most sites where I submit information, like banking etc.


December 22, 2009, 2:16 pm

@ Martin

Chrome now supports extensions! AdThwart and Flashblocker are the two I use, but I think AdThwart has some serious memory leaks. It works though. Oh, and no locking the page until it is fully rendered like FF.

Chrome/Safari are also fully supported by major banks and utility companies, so no trouble there either.


December 22, 2009, 2:17 pm

Firefox does what I want so I'll stick with it (& I keep it pretty well up to date). The thing that drives me mad is the webpages (I know 2 that I use) written for IE & that do not work on Firefox!


December 22, 2009, 3:15 pm

I don't really care too much about which browser - using Chrome, IE8 and FF3.5 at different times. I just wish that they would all apply the standards, and web developers would follow the standards.

I hate having to switch browsers because a site won't work with one browser but will work with another - I find this a lot with business web based applications rather than public facing web sites.

Ron 1

December 22, 2009, 3:28 pm

Glad that Chrome is now available for Mac - much faster than Firefox, as it is on the PC platform too. Worth trying.


December 22, 2009, 4:01 pm

Shame about Opera, I think there mistake was charging for it initially. If it had been free from the start I bet there market share would have been much larger now.


December 22, 2009, 4:25 pm

The only thing FF offers IMHO is Firebug. I still browse with IE much easier, chrome is pretty, but I have a tesco like hate for google so it was never going to win. Opera and Safari make a nice change once in a while.


December 22, 2009, 8:18 pm

I think its pretty shameful for some of the posters above to not only use add-blocking software but also to brazenly admit to it. Sites such this that depend solely on advertisements for their revenue and as such you should at least consider that when your reading their reviews and news updates.


December 22, 2009, 8:37 pm

@ ffrankmccaffery - there has been several debates over the past few months about this issue. The overriding opinion is that if ads were less annoying/ didn't take up half the page then people would be more likely to click on them and not have to resort to using adblockers so that they can focus on the content. Having tons of ad's on a site is completely counter productive.


December 22, 2009, 9:00 pm


If Ads weren't ridiculously heavy and took an age to load I wouldn't bother blocking them. All that happens is it makes the page take ages to load on my little netbook. Flash is the main culprit so really I don't block ads, but Flash. Google text ads still get through...


December 22, 2009, 9:01 pm

@ffrankmccaffery: I think you need to look at the reason why one is needed. Animated GIF's are bad enough, but these Flash adverts really get under my skin. There is no need for them, Google make there Billions from advertising without stupid popup adverts that take over the screen when your mouse accidently moves over them. So, in a nutshell I have no sympathy for TR in this regard. The thing is the people who have the say in this regard are obviously not listening. And at one point would you @ffrankmccaffery be prepared to see TR go, 99% advert 1% content maybe, for example even there front page layout was bastardised for an advert placement, as if there wasn't already enough real estate for such things.


December 22, 2009, 9:04 pm

How exactly does ad-blocking work? I view adverts on TR, but never click on them. Should I be ashamed of this? Doesn't everybody do that? Or can the advertisers tell when the ad has been blocked?


December 23, 2009, 2:12 am

google has just said that ad blockers will save the adverts because it will force media companies to tame them and make them more efficient, thats why they have allowed ad blockers on chrome where there was a big thing they may block the ad blockers.

I have to admit it is only very rarely I click on adverts purely because of the stupidly long and most of the time unknown links that they display when you hover over them. sites I trust, like TR, I trust the adverts more but on most sites I won't click on them at all esp. flash ads when they don't tell you where they are taking you.


December 23, 2009, 4:39 am

If they stop using heavy flash/flash video ads then I'll gladly turn off adblock plus until then...

Webmasters do have a choice by not allowing any donkey to advertise on their sites.

There are plenty of sites who don't bombard their users with annoying, heavy adverts and they're doing fine on a limited budget.


December 23, 2009, 8:00 am

@Andrew Violet @Max Power @Keith @darkspark88 @Jay @AlmostDone - the whole of TR editorial understands exactly where you're coming from. Unfortunately we're overruled from higher up the publishing chain. Hopefully when the economy settles down we'll get less pressure to have ads in every nook and cranny (whether the current approach is counter productive in itself is another argument - I don't have access to the stats). At least know we writers share your frustration.


December 23, 2009, 5:08 pm

I don't use an Adblocker, but have to admit that adds which pop out and cover some of the screen really do annoy - the current Toshiba Ad TR is hosting for example! Why oh why? Just makes me hate and resent Toshiba for spoiling my browsing experience - great advertising that!

One other point, someone commented earlier that the stats show how FF users keep up to date better. Not sure I totally agree. What it also shows you is how many corporate PC's there are out there and how slow they are to update their standards (and that most corporates use IE). My company has only recently gone from IE6 to IE7. God knows when they may get around to IE8 - just costs to much to test and recertify everything.


December 23, 2009, 8:52 pm

@ Gordon - as before I understand this is not your choice (we can tell from the quality of the content that you are certainly not to blame) and that you would seek to tone down the advertising if you had a choice. However, I call on all those who, like me, use an ad blocker to instead use the brilliant price checker, since this means you get prices and the site gets money for you clicking on links etc.


December 23, 2009, 9:10 pm

@Andrew Violet - Feeling the love, you're 100 per cent spot on ;)


December 24, 2009, 4:12 am

Google are tactical geniuses. I've started seeing Google Chrome on billboard adverts around London. Something I never imagined I'd see a web browser on. Google are taking the web browser very seriously. Competitors should be scared into action.


December 24, 2009, 5:22 am

@ Andrew Violet - The price comparison tool works a treat! Better than Google as it filters all of the crap. Love it! I bought a Blu-ray player from a price comparison link, I'm sure the affiliate link will make TR more money than click-through from a banner advert...

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