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Wednesday, December 09, 2009, 06:00 pm PT (09:00 pm ET)

Safari retains speed crown over newcomer Chrome in OS X

While besting Firefox by nearly 50 percent, Google's newly released Chrome browser was 12 percent slower than Apple's Safari in benchmark tests.

In benchmark tests run by Computerworld, Apple's Safari browser claimed the top spot over Firefox, Opera, and Chrome. Google released a beta build of Chrome to the public on Tuesday.

The results showed that Safari slightly edged out Chrome, was nearly twice as fast as Firefox, and over ten times faster than Opera.

Computerworld's method of testing used the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite. The test was run three times for each browser in OS X 10.6 and the numbers were averaged.

According to November numbers by Net Applications, Internet Explorer commands 63.62 percent of the total browser market, followed by Firefox with 24.72, Safari with 4.36 percent, 3.93 percent for Chrome, and 2.31 percent for Opera.

"As you might expect, the speed of Google Chrome for Mac is something we're very proud of. If you have a Mac, try installing the beta and see how fast it launches - there's hardly even time for the icon in the dock to bounce!" the Chrome development team said on its official blog.

Google's Chrome Mac beta can be downloaded from Google's website, and weighs in at 17.6MB.The program requires Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later and only works on Intel-based Macs.

Browser Speed Graph

Graph courtesy of Computerworld