Google's Chrome managed to break past 7% market share in May, according to Net Applications data, as the increasingly popular web browser continues to lure away users its rivals. Specifically, Chrome rose roughly 0.3 points to 7.1%, while Opera and Appe's Safari each grew 0.1 points to 2.4% and 4.8%, respectively. The share losses came from Internet Explorer, which dropped 0.3 points to 59.7%, and Mozilla's Firefox which saw a slight drop to 24.4%.

Even though Internet Explorer lost share overall, the very latest version, IE 8, grew at a higher rate than any of the competition with almost a full percentage point increase to 29%. Although the much-despised IE 6 still holds around 10-18% of the global market share, a report from StatCounter claims its usage dropped below 5% in the U.S. and Europe for the first time, which suggests that Microsoft has had some success in getting people to upgrade.

The browser market has become increasingly competitive with new features being built into browsers along support for new web standards. Google just released Chrome 5.0 in stable builds for Windows, Linux and Mac. This new version is said to be much faster than predecessors and sports HTML5-based geolocation APIs and improved sync functionality along other features.