Google's Chrome edged up to about a quarter Firefox's share of global Web browser usage in March, a gain that outpaced its major rivals.
Chrome increased from 5.6 percent to 6.1 percent share of the browser usage from February to March, according to preliminary Net Applications statistics released Thursday. The company monitors and analyzes browser usage on a large network of Web sites.
Opera was flat at 2.4 percent. Microsoft's Internet Explorer, though still the top browser by far in terms of usage, continued its steady decline with a drop from 61.6 percent to 60.7 percent.
The browser market is getting fiercely competitive. Safari and Chrome are joined at the hip by virtue of their common usage of the open-source WebKit foundation, but Chrome developers are pushing ahead as fast as possible.
Mozilla's Firefox had been the primary alternative browser of choice for those who wanted to move beyond Internet Explorer. Its share gains have leveled out with the arrival of Chrome, though, which has appealed to the same techno-savvy audience. Firefox is responding with new features and a new focus on performance, but the most interesting new dynamic in the browser wars is the awakening of Microsoft's slumbering IE giant.
On Wednesday, Mozilla offered an alternative quantitative view in its first Mozilla Metrics Report.
Mixing in statistics from four organizations--StatCounter, Quantcast, Gemius, and Net Applications--Mozilla concluded it's faring better than the Net Applications figures alone. "Firefox's worldwide market share [is] hovering near 30 percent," the organization said.
One other interesting statistic from a Mozilla usage study: "We found that the typical user has between two and three tabs open at any one time," though in the weeklong test one user had more than 600 tabs open.