Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Market share of web browsers

Sorry, this might be boring, but I love this stuff. The new numbers from Netapplications.com (whatever that is) were released, and Firefox, Opera, and Safari are up; IE is down. Yay. Netscape is slowly crawling to its doom, as is Mozilla. As well they should. Two caveats:
  • In full disclosure, I use Firefox 2.0 and Opera 9.0

  • These numbers are not reliable.

What do I mean by the latter?
  1. First off, there is no way to know who is using what browser and how much. You can only make guesses based on server logs. Certain Web users will go to certain sites using certain browsers more frequently than others, and that skewers the numbers. For instance, Maxthon is used by millions of citizens in the People's Republic of China, but isn't on this list. Why? Because Netapplications.com is in English, and Chinese generally don't understand that language, and will generally not visit a web site that is totally unintelligible. Generally.

  2. Furthermore, look at the poll of "What's the best browser?" on any of those pages. If you vote, you'll notice that 60-some percent say Firefox, while on 14% of Internet traffic is made up of said browser. Why? Because the sort of person who votes on which browser is best is the sort of person that has critical thought about his browser. That's a different kind of Internet user, and if Netapplications.com attracts those kinds of users, they will get biased data.

All of this is to say "Spread Firefox (and Opera)," and don't be married to a web browser like some fanatic; competition is good, and will produce a better product. If one arises, make the switch.

Small, stupid update: I just looked at this pie chart again, and it infuriated me because it has a deceptive third dimension and the table doesn't use a consistent amount of significant digits (aargh!)

No comments: