Google started shipping Chrome version 8 on Thursday. It’s the first browser to include built-in access to an app store, which could add a new dimension to the revived browser wars.
Other new features in Chrome 8.0.552.215 include a built-in PDF reader with sandbox security protection instead of a PDF plug-in. There have been a number of reports of security issues with Adobe’s PDF software, which sandboxing — or isolating the browser from the system — is expected to address.
Market Share Climbing
Google said the update has 800 “bug fixes and stability improvements.” New versions are coming out about every six to eight weeks, although Chrome 8 came only slightly more than six weeks after Chrome 7.
Chrome has been steadily climbing in worldwide market share. According to Net Applications’ Net Market Share, Chrome 7.0 gained 5.64 percent global usage share in November, the second-highest monthly gain in the tracking company’s history. Firefox 3.6 is the record holder with a 6.09 percent increase from February to March this year.
Chrome’s total market share worldwide as of last month is 8.02 percent, so the November jump is bringing the browser out of the shadows. Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 still reigns supreme at 32.79 percent, with Firefox 3.6 second at 18.17 percent. IE 6 is at 13.72 percent, and IE 7 has 9.53 percent, followed by Chrome 7. Chrome 6.0 is way down at 13th, with 0.37 percent.
But browser usage varies by market and demographic. For instance, some tech sites are reporting that Chrome is now beating Firefox as the browser used by most of their visitors, with Apple’s Safari and IE as runner-ups.
Firefox 4 is expected to be released early in 2011, Microsoft is readying IE 9, and Opera 11 beta is being released, so the browser wars will undoubtedly heat up. Chrome and Opera,…