StatCounter has reported that Chrome was the world's number-one browser for a day (Sunday 18 March 2012), in a story that will doubtless cause rows among web designers and browser makers. According to StatCounter, Chrome "topped the polls in India, Russia and Brazil, all of which contributed to it becoming the number one browser for that day on a global basis".
"Whether Chrome can take the lead in the browser wars in the longterm remains to be seen," said Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter, but he added the trend towards Chrome usage at weekends is undeniable, suggesting people are flocking to Google's browser when out of the workplace.
However, just as we urged mobile figures to be taken with caution earlier this month, Microsoft has argued the same should be true with desktop shares. On The Windows Blog, Roger Capriotti (Director, Internet Explorer Product Marketing) claimed Chrome's prerendering was skewing figures: "Chrome is opening separate Chrome tabs based on user search queries at Google.com […] that are invisible to the user. Last month, Net Applications began removing Chrome prerendered browsing traffic from its statistics [but StatCounter] simply publishes their data as they record it, without any adjustment".
We asked Google about whether prerendering was possibly skewing stats in its favour and a spokesperson simply told us: "Google does not have any comment to add". As for stats in general, it's clear trends exist and that Chrome continues to grow. But shock headlines such as the fact it's outpacing Internet Explorer must be backed by research into the methodologies to reach the relevant figures. And for web designers and developers, the most important stats remain those from client sites, rather than making assumptions based purely on what's possibly happening on a global scale.