May 22, 2012

Is Internet Explorer Or Chrome The Most Popular Browser?

Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com

Yesterday, it seemed that Google´s Chrome web browser had narrowly edged out Microsoft´s Internet Explorer. But that was yesterday, and today is a new day with new statistics and new debates to be had.

Microsoft, it turns out, thinks the data used to come up with this statistic is flawed, and prefers to use another traffic measurement site which, conveniently enough, rates IE considerably higher than Chrome.

The source of yesterday´s story came from StatCounter, which proclaimed Chrome as having a larger user base by just a hair. However, today the site shows IE is back on top and winning handsomely. The issue lies in the way these statistics are counted: StatCounter gives credit for pre-rendered sites which the user never actually sees. Whenever a Chrome user conducts a Google search, the browser loads an invisible tab in the background. StatCounter counts this as a website, and therefore, Chrome took a narrow lead.

Net Applications, on the other hand, doesn´t use this kind of pre-rendering counting as Microsoft was quick to point out in a blog.

Microsoft also points out that their preferred Net Applications results balances their statistics with the size of a countries population using the internet. For example, StatCounter shows Turkey as the world´s second largest country on the Internet, therefore their results are based on this data. According to the CIA, however, Turkey is actually number 15 in terms of Internet population.

StatCounter´s results also don´t attribute for unique browsers, but count solely on sheer traffic volume. Meaning, if a bot has control of a computer and is hitting a page over and over again, StatCounter is tallying every visit.

Roger Capriotti, Director of Internet Explorer Product Marketing explains their case this way:

“Certainly there is no perfect way to measure browser share at a worldwide level. This is why we focus on utilizing the data that provides the most accurate representation of actual usage share around the world. While both Net Applications and StatCounter often show similar trends, it´s important to note that certain steps must be taken to represent accurate quantitative assessments of worldwide usage share.”

At the time of this writing, Net Applications is listing Internet Explorer as having 54.1% of desktop browser market share, ahead of Firefox at 20.2% and then Chrome at 18.9%. Apple´s Safari, however, has a meager 4.8% of desktop market share.

Speaking of Apple, Net Applications also studied traffic on both the iPad and iPhone and found the latest iteration of iPad pushed tablet browsing past phone browsing.

"The iPad and iPhone have been close in browsing share for the last several months," Net Applications said, according to PC Mag.

"However, upon the release of the latest version of the iPad, its share has accelerated and now tops iPhone share 33.7 percent to 27.4 percent."

Combined, the iPhone and iPad placed the Mobile version of Safari to the top of mobile browser market share list at 63.8%. Coming in at a distant number 2 is the Android browser, claiming only 18.9% of mobile browser market share.


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