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Google Chrome isn’t just for über-geeks anymore. Google’s minimalist web browser is now the most popular web browser in the world, according to the latest figures from StatCounter.

For the week of May 14th to May 20th, Chrome edged out Internet Explorer — which has been losing market share precipitously — for the first time ever. StatCounter’s data shows that Mozilla Firefox has been slowly dipping in popularity, and that Chrome surpassed it in market share in early November last year (though Firefox usage shot up a bit in recent weeks).

The news isn’t too surprising, since Google has done a remarkable job of quickly improving Chrome and adding features that easily tie into your Google account. Last week, the company added a useful tab synchronization feature to the latest version of Chrome, which likely helped drive new downloads.

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Looking at the browser market by region, it’s clear that South America gave Chrome a big push in worldwide numbers. Chrome’s popularity skyrocketed in South America over the last year, almost doubling to 52 percent. It’s unclear what exactly is driving Chrome’s numbers in the region, though I assume the popularity of Google’s Orkut social network in Brazil has something to do with it.

In North America, Internet Explorer is still slightly more popular than Chrome, though Microsoft’s browser has been steadily dropping in popularity over the last year. That generally seems to be the story of most regions — even though Internet Explorer 9 was a surprisingly intriguing release, it wasn’t enough to fight against the rising tide of Chrome hype.

Via The Verge; Photo via Van_PC/Flickr

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