Despite the awaited and long delayed release of Firefox 3.6 last month, that was hardly sufficient to keep alive the urge from users to favor the Mozilla browser against other worthy alternatives like Chrome, Opera or even Safari. According to January data released by Net Applications, Google's browser was the big winner with a sizable usage share bump from 4.64% in December to 5.20% last month. This came at the expense of both Internet Explorer and Firefox that were marginally down compared to December.

On the side of operating systems, Windows was slightly down to 92.02% overall, while OS X saw a marginal jump to 5.13% and Linux was flat at 1%. Scrutinizing those Windows numbers further, Windows 7 hit an estimated 10% share on January 31st, which likely had something to do with IE8 taking the top browser spot with 22.31% usage share. Painfully to say, IE6 remains to be used by some 20% of users, despite its obvious shortcomings and potential security flaws.

While it's hard to be completely sold on this data, it should remain a pretty good indicator of usage trends over time. Net Apps tracks software usage from 40,000 websites representing about 160 million unique visitors each month.