Chrome has gained most of what IE and Mozilla's Firefox lost this year, boosting its numbers by 8.8 points in 2011. Firefox, which dropped three-tenths of a point during December and 1.9 points for the year, ended 2011 with 21.8 percent, a new low. Firefox will lose its second-place spot to Chrome in March if the two browsers keep to their current Net Applications' trend lines. (According to rival measurement company StatCounter, Chrome has already overtaken Firefox .)
Also during December, Apple's Safari stayed flat at 5 percent, and Opera Software's Opera gained one-tenth of a percentage point, its first significant increase in over a year, to reach 1.7 percent.
Net Applications calculates browser usage share with data obtained from more than 160 million unique visitors who browse 40,000 Web sites that the company monitors for clients. More browser statistics can be found on the company's site.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers, and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com. See more articles by Gregg Keizer. Read more about browsers in Computerworld's Browsers Topic Center.