Google Chrome is the leading browser on desktop computers and mobile devices by a wide margin.
Chrome was first released in 2008 and replaced Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at some point between 2012 and 2016 as the most widely used browser in the world, depending on counting method. Their market lead has grown ever since, boosted by pairing the browser with the Android operating system.
On desktops, Firefox (the browser backed by the non-profit Mozilla) is the second most widely used worldwide. On mobile devices, Apple’s Safari and UC Browser by Alibaba are in second and third place.
Google’s primary source of revenue is displaying and selling ads. Its freeware browser, Chrome, helps further this business. A lesser known effect of Google’s dominance is that the company has the power to define and implement features of how the Web works for everyone, no matter which browser they use – for instance, through the Web standards process. This is an unfortunate vector of competition, because Google can push for standards or formats that other browsers can’t or don’t want to deliver on.
The browser is the central gateway to the Web, so competition and options around values like choice, privacy and transparency, matter to the health of the Internet.
Desktop browser market share worldwide
Data source: Desktop Browser Market Share Worldwide, StatCounter, 2017
Mobile browser market share worldwide
Data source: Mobile Browser Market Share Worldwide, StatCounter, 2017