Chrome usage within striking distance of Firefox

If 1 in 50 people on the Web move from Firefox to Chrome, Google's browser will unseat Mozilla's for the No. 2 spot in worldwide usage. That's because, according to Net Applications' November browser usage measurements, Chrome is now within 4 percentage points of Firefox. With a 2 percentage-point increase in one and a 2-percentage decrease in the other, Google comes out on top.

Firefox dropped 0.4 percentage points to 22.1 percent of usage in November, while Chrome gained 0.7 percent to 18.2 percent. If that rate was to continue, Chrome would outpace Firefox in March 2012, but fluctuations make such predictions difficult.

Firefox once was the prime challenger to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which for years languished in the doldrums of software development. Now it shares that role with Chrome and, to a lesser degree, Apple's Safari. Microsoft is in high gear again, though, with IE9 a credible challenger and IE10 shaping up to be a strong competitor when it's finished in 2012.