The latest PC Advisor browser poll has found that Google Chrome is proving an increasingly popular minority choice, with both Internet Explorer and Firefox losing market share to it.

We asked visitors to the site which web browser they use most often, and the 770 respondents voted Firefox top - the same position it achieved in our previous two browser polls (in 2007 and 2009). Yet Mozilla has lost the ground it gained last time and more besides: from 44.9 percent in 2007 and a high of 46.6 in 2009 it fell to 40.5 percent this time around.

Second time, again, was claimed by Internet Explorer, continuing Microsoft's steady decline in popularity among PCA's readers; but Steve Ballmer will be pleased to hear that the losses were far less dramatic this time. IE crashed from 41.6 to 32.1 percent between 2007 and 2009, making its present 29.7 more respectable.

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So who gained from the big two's losses? Google Chrome, which wasn't even an option four years ago. It picked up 10.4 percent of votes on its poll debut two years ago, and is well on the way to doubling that, with 18.6 percent this year.

And the other contenders? Opera lost a little over a percent, dropping from 6.5 in 2009 to 5.1 percent this year; and Safari continued to gently shed market share with figures of 5.5 (2007), 4.2 (2009) and 3.8 (2011).

Visitor stats: the real story?

Well, our poll reveals which browser readers say is their favourite; but how does that compare with our website's visitor stats?

Things look up for Microsoft, with Internet Explorer far more commonly used by our site visitors than the poll would suggest. Taking the last month as an example, the various versions of IE were used by around 42 percent of visitors, leaving Firefox trailing with 25.1 percent. Chrome was a more predictable 18 percent, Safari had a share of 7 percent and Opera scored 6.7 percent. There was even half a percentage worth of visitors using Netscape.

Of course, it's conceivable that a fair proportion of PC Advisor's visitors are viewing the site from work, where the IT department forces them to use IE against their wishes, and that they consider themselves honorary Firefox users because that's what they'd choose to use in their own time.

It's also possible that Firefox fans are a lot prouder of their choice than other browser users, and therefore rush to complete polls on that subject. Perhaps those running IE might even experience a certain degree of - dare we say shame?

Based on 770 votes, March 2011. Vote in the survey (and see the results presented as a pie chart) or have your say in PC Advisor's forums