Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Chrome Google Microsoft Software Stats The Internet Technology

Chrome Browser Usage Artificially Boosted, Says Microsoft 272

Posted by timothy
from the depends-who's-counting dept.
bonch writes "Chrome was recently called the world's no.1 browser, but Microsoft is accusing the source, StatCounter, of using flawed methodology. When a user enters a search in Chrome, the browser preloads an invisible tab not shown to the user, and these were being counted by StatCounter. Net Applications, another usage tracking group, ignores these invisible tabs and reports IE at 54%, Firefox at 20.20%, and Chrome at 18.85%." Whereas the saturation of MSIE is totally organic, right?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Chrome Browser Usage Artificially Boosted, Says Microsoft

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:12AM (#40087267)

    StatCounter does not tally pre-loaded pages.

    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:16AM (#40087357) Journal

      This might be what you are referring to:

      "Last month, Net Applications began removing Chrome prerendered browsing traffic from its statistics, noting that “prerendering in February 2012 accounted for 4.3% of Chrome's daily unique visitors.” In doing so Net Applications became the first company to adjust its data reports for websites"

    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:17AM (#40087379) Journal

      Ignore my sibling post, this is what I meant to grab:

      "NOTE: StatCounter recently announced that they have updated their data as of May 1, 2012 to reflect prerendering in Chrome. However, there is no indication of either methodology or what percentage of Chrome share is being removed from StatCounter data."

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:59AM (#40088115)

        Do you think Microsoft cares? They just want to spin the story to cover-up IE's downfall, and don't care if they have to LIE about StatCounter's methodology (claiming they count preloads, when they don't).

      • So are MS just complaining about a problem which was already fixed before Chrome topped IE in their rankings? That's how it sounds at least.

        From StatCounter's FAQ, and also noted on all of their graphs for this time period:

        "Further to a significant number of user requests, we are now adjusting our browser stats to remove the effect of prerendering in Google Chrome. From 1 May 2012, prerendered pages (which are not actually viewed) are not included in our stats."

        http://gs.statcounter.com/faq#prerendering [statcounter.com]

      • by chrb (1083577)

        StatCounter recently announced that they have updated their data as of May 1, 2012 to reflect prerendering in Chrome. However, there is no indication of either methodology

        They state the methodology in their FAQ:

        BROWSERS: Do you adjust your browser stats for prerendering/pre-loading? [statcounter.com]
        Two browsers are affected by preview-type requests - Chrome and Safari.
        Chrome
        Further to a significant number of user requests, we are now adjusting our browser stats to remove the effect of prerendering in Google Chrome. From 1 May 2012, prerendered pages (which are not actually viewed) are not included in our stats.

        Some points to note:
        Prerendering was announced by Chrome in June 2011. This change did not have any significant impact on our stats.
        Chrome is currently allowing the detection of prerendering behavior via its Page Visibility API.
        Google specifically states: "
        Important: This is an experimental API and may change-or even be removed-in the future, especially as the Page Visibility API standard, which is an early draft, evolves."

        This means that in the future it may not be possible to track/remove the effect of prerendering on Chrome. If other browsers adopt prerendering then it may not be possible to track/remove the effect of prerendering on those browsers. In that case, the fairest solution would be to include all page views (prerendered or not) for all browsers rather than only excluding prerendering in Chrome. That scenario would require us to revisit this methodology change in the future.

        We publish a graph showing total prerendered page views tracked in Chrome, together with the portion of prerendered pages which are not actually viewed by the end user. The prerendered pages (which are not actually viewed) are removed from our stats. For May 2012, the percentage of prerendered pages (not viewed) in Chrome is approximately 1.3%. Note that this change has not had any significant impact on our browser stats. This is due to our use of page views to track browser usage - page views are less susceptible to influence by prerendering than unique visitors.

        Safari

        The Top Sites feature in Safari shows preview thumbnails of frequently visited sites. These preview thumbnails are refreshed by Safari periodically. Unfortunately, it is not possible to exclude these previews from being tracked. To get a bit technical, this is because the "X-Purpose: preview" header is only sent with the request for the base page. The header is not sent as part of requests for images, CSS or JavaScript that have to be downloaded and executed as part of the Top Sites preview. With online web analytics (as provided by StatCounter) the relevant header information is not passed so these preview requests can't be detected and therefore can't be removed. Ideally Safari will change this to ensure to send the "X-Purpose: preview" header with all Top Sites HTTP requests, however this is not the case at present.

        Interesting that Safari is still being over-counted though.

    • by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:30AM (#40087609)
      Wait one fucking second

      "bonch wites"

      Theres our problem.

  • by PartOfElite (2646065) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:12AM (#40087269)
    It's not only Chrome - they try to inflate Google+ user count also, by counting every single Google service - including search engine and YouTube - as part of Google+. Then they boast user counts of like 100 million while the users have been nowhere near Google+ itself and it's perfectly clear there's not that kind of users. It's part of their marketing.
    • by spacepimp (664856) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:25AM (#40087525) Homepage

      That is part of the misunderstanding people have about Google+. Google plus isn't a Facebook competitor. The way Google has been spinning it is that it is the integration of all of Googles services into a more central account base. Youtube, maps, gmail, google+ accounts, gchat, google music, have been consolidated. they are all part of Google+. People want it to be a street fight between Facebook and G+, so they see it for what they want it to be. You can argue that Google muddies the water by doing this, but to not streamline these services is counter intuitive, and difficult to manage.
      Before Steve Jobs died he met with Larry Page and offered advice. Cutting the cruft and tying their products into a cohesive ecosystem are likely the advice he offered.

      • by Shadowmist (57488) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:38AM (#40087775)

        That is part of the misunderstanding people have about Google+. Google plus isn't a Facebook competitor.

        I remember that earlier versions of Picasa had options on sharing your photos with Facebook. Those options got yanked not that long before Google Plus was launched. So I don't think the idea of competing with Facebook is that far from the truth.

        • by spacepimp (664856) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:56AM (#40088073) Homepage

          That is part of the misunderstanding people have about Google+. Google plus isn't a Facebook competitor.

          I remember that earlier versions of Picasa had options on sharing your photos with Facebook. Those options got yanked not that long before Google Plus was launched. So I don't think the idea of competing with Facebook is that far from the truth.

          I guess the wording could have been more precise on my part. let me restate it: Google+ isn't just a social network. It is the comprehensive unification of Google services into a more tightly knit ecosystem. Does it compete with Facebook? Yes, but in thinking of Google+ strictly a social network to compete with Facebook is missing the bigger picture. Maybe they will become more alike in the future as Facebook broadens it's scope.

      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        And... Steve Jobs was never wrong?

        • by spacepimp (664856)

          I didn't say or suggest a thing about right or wrong. The Steve Jobs reference was suggesting part of the impetus to consolidate and unify the ecosystem, and the focus on fewer more refined products. Indirectly it was meant to suggest that the move to Google+ had origins outside of a square off with Facebook.

      • by Dishevel (1105119) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:22AM (#40088537)

        Before Steve Jobs died he met with Larry Page and offered advice.

        I think that the advice given was "Fuck off and Die. I will destroy your asses from the grave!"
        At least that is in line with everything we had heard him say about Google before.
        Steve Jobs turned into a self entitled little fucking brat. Sad really. He started out as an awesome dude.
        Then he got full of himself and decided he never needed a lic plate cause he was special. That he could park in handicapped spaces because "I am Steve Fucking Jobs".
        I do not like ego driven assholes ever really. But Steve started so high in my opinion and went and got so low that I have a special place of hatred for him.

        • by spacepimp (664856)

          Before Steve Jobs died he met with Larry Page and offered advice.

          I think that the advice given was "Fuck off and Die. I will destroy your asses from the grave!"
          At least that is in line with everything we had heard him say about Google before.
          Steve Jobs turned into a self entitled little fucking brat. Sad really. He started out as an awesome dude.
          Then he got full of himself and decided he never needed a lic plate cause he was special. That he could park in handicapped spaces because "I am Steve Fucking Jobs".
          I do not like ego driven assholes ever really. But Steve started so high in my opinion and went and got so low that I have a special place of hatred for him.

          I think Steve was always arrogant, started out that way, and died that way. From what I've read he denied the request initially but was reminded how many people offered him advice when he was starting and then he accepted. When faced with death people often look at the world a bit differently. My father was an angry man most of his life. When the reality of mortality became unavoidable it broke down a lot of barriers in his thoughts, and relationships with friends and family.

          If anything in my comment was s

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:27AM (#40087569) Homepage Journal

      And it's not only Google, MS does similar things. Take their search engine. I don't know how many times I've been sent to Bing when clicking on a link not remotely related to Bing. Does anybody actually use Bing on purpose?

      Every company is sleazy, including Google. Some are sleazier than others, of course (IMO the sleaziest tech company is Sony).

      • In that case it balances out because Google does exactly the same. If you search on their other services, then many of them send you to the search engine. Google also offers sites their own "custom search" things and widgets that can be used to search that specific site (which just sends the user to Google with site: parameter). Google actually does this far more than Bing.
      • I use Bing, simply because I also use Gmail and I don't want Google to be able to build up a huge profile on my web activity.

        Really Bing is not at all bad, though the one thing I miss is the Google calculator.

      • by twocows (1216842)
        I use Bing Rewards, actually. I don't care much what search engine I use as long as I get decent results and having Microsoft pay for my gaming habit doesn't bother me one bit.
    • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:32AM (#40087643)

      That's nothing, Facebook has this habit of paying people to troll Google on Slashdot!

    • by Fastolfe (1470)

      What makes you think Google had anything whatsoever to do with this?

  • is not at all artificially inflating the numbers.

    or what about MS specific webapps such as their CRM system? I mean I could see if opera were the company that was making the complaint.
    • by Dan East (318230)

      The method in which a user ends up with a browser - by default or by choice, etc - is a whole different topic. What is important for web developers are accurate statistics. I agree with MS on this one, because it sounds like the stats were quite skewed by page preloading, etc. How people ended up with IE doesn't change who is actually using what. I'm trying to figure out why Firefox and Chrome usage is so low on iPad devices - it's quite an anomaly - but again, that's a whole different topic.

      (to save thos

      • If you really care about metrics though you shouldn't be looking at StatsCounter's global stats anyway. Most likely your demographic is going to be unique and particular to your subject matter.

        Lots of corporate viewers? Expect lots of IE.
        Lots of gadgeteers? Expect lots of FF and Chrome.
        Lots of Linux geeks? Expect lots of FF and Opera.

        Etc...

        You really need stats for your specific genre of website to best target your users. I would imagine that Slashdot's view stats are skewed pretty dramatically off of

      • Statistics are useless anyway, not in the least because of all those bots that pretend to be browsers. Accurate statistics would be nice, but since they're not available, a web developer should spend more attention to what they are actually doing, IMHO... and who, generally and exluding situations that involve terminal greed or idiocy, cares about how many people use old version of IE? I don't, that's like looking at a turd before you flush. I mean sure, have a glance, but don't keep looking and looking and

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      Coming preloaded so that people use it isn't artificially inflating the statistics- it's gaining real honest to god users (through sleazy and unfair methods). Storming into people's houses and forcing them to use your software at gunpoint would be sleazy and unfair, but there's no denying that they are now technically your users...

  • by The Dancing Panda (1321121) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:14AM (#40087305)
    It seems like kind of a quick jump otherwise.
  • by hackula (2596247) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:18AM (#40087395)
    ...Lynx rules all the browsers anyway.
    • by crazyjj (2598719) *

      Am I the only one still using Cello?

      Hello...anyone?

      • by Nimey (114278)

        Probably. I couldn't even get it to run on any of my "vintage" virtual machines, let alone render any websites.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Lynx? Luxury. We had to do everything with telnet.

      • by kno3 (1327725)
        And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you.
    • elinks has mouse and javascript support. Just saying.

    • At one point at school I was using Charlotte a text mode webbrowser on a mainframe. I also maintained a price list on our webserver, and I had to test on Charlotte to make sure it was readable there.

      Surprisingly it seems to still exist [ibm.com] and updated shockingly recently.

    • by brianerst (549609)

      Lynx? Doesn't it use that weird WWW thingy?

      I'll have to look it up on Gopher and see what all the fuss is about...

  • Wait a second (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yebyen (59663)

    As usual, the summary makes no sense at all.

    So, Google Chrome users who search on Google are counted as users, but they should not be counted?

    Or, they are being counted twice? Or are they being counted for the number of tabs they have open?

    What's an "invisible tab?" I don't want to read the article, but I don't understand how it inflates the actual number of chrome users. If the summary indicates what the article actually says, then there's no reason to discount these users, as they're not "actually not

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Chrome automatically loads some of the links on the page you are reading in the background, so that when you click on one of those links, it already has the page mostly ready. So when the user reads one page, "the web" sees several pages being loaded.

      Slashdot 10 years later, what has changed. Microsoft still the evil empire, Google still the darling startup, and nobody can be bothered to read the article when it's about evil M$.

    • Re:Wait a second (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:25AM (#40087517) Journal

      What's an "invisible tab?" I don't want to read the article, but I don't understand how it inflates the actual number of chrome users

      I think you said it all right there...

      • by Yebyen (59663)

        Did you look at the article? Geolocation weighting? It's bloody five pages.

        I don't come to Slashdot for the articles :)

  • There's something "natural" on a completely artificial construct?
  • In any case isn't what is being counted is page loads, not users? IE has more users because most computer users have IE. Mozilla and Chrome users may be more savvy and may actually use the internet more than IE users. It makes sense that if you care that much about the internet you probably have strong opinions about the browser you are using. If your company is trying to reach users you may want to know the percentage of users each browser accounts for. If your company is trying to reach the more enga
    • In any case isn't what is being counted is page loads, not users?

      Many firms measure page views, Net Applications (which shows IE in the lead) counts unique users.

      Which is more important depends on what you plan on doing with the numbers (abstract "my browser is bigger than yours comparisons" not tied to any actual useful purpose can use either equally.)

  • Canadian stats (Score:4, Informative)

    by GabboFlabbo (595073) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:30AM (#40087613)
    Stats from a website which has mostly Canadian viewers:

    Unique Users for the past 30 days
    1.IE         66,554    42.21%
    2.Safari     37,213    23.60%
    3.Firefox    20,703    13.13%
    4.Chrome     14,552    9.23%
    5.Android    3,736    2.37%

    *source: google analytics

  • by EXTomar (78739) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:31AM (#40087627)

    Could it be that Chrome is on every Android platform and Android is on a lot of things? Many more pieces of hardware than Windows Mobile. Although I am a little dubious of the claim that "Chrome is #1" the growth makes a lot of sense where it has nothing to do with "hidden tabs" but that the installbase has exploded.

    • by BZ (40346) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @11:18AM (#40088451)

      1) The Android browser is not Chrome (different UA string, different JS engine, different WebKit version, etc).

      2) Total smartphone internet usage is much much smaller than desktop usage, so numbers that measure usage as opposed to installs are still pretty desktop-dominated.

      • You can install Chrome in ICS. I have it running on my Asus Transformer right now. It's a bit different than the bundled browser but 90% the same.

        • by BZ (40346)

          Sure. You can install the Chrome beta. But the point is that it's not installed by default, install numbers are low, and ICS deployment is _also_ low.

          All of which is to say that Chrome on Android is not a significant part of Chrome market share.

  • The Wikimedia browser stats [wikimedia.org] pretty much match the StatCounter ones: 25.36% IE, 24.99% Chrome.

    Note that Wikimedia is (a) a top-10 site with a broad general international readership (b) a charity with no direct interest in the question of "which browser wins?" but only in knowing the actual answers, so as to serve the readers.

  • by KiloByte (825081) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:41AM (#40087835)

    You can't use a browser without adblock these days and retain sanity. And unless you decide to throw away your privacy, you'll block trackers like Google Analytics or StatCounter.

    So join me on the mission: drive apparent Firefox usage stats to 0.

  • What is country level weighting, and why do you do it?
    The Net Market Share data is weighted by country. We compare our traffic to the CIA Internet Traffic by Country table, and weight our data accordingly. For example, if our global data shows that Brazil represents 2% of our traffic, and the CIA table shows Brazil to represent 4% of global Internet traffic, we will count each unique visitor from Brazil twice. This is done to balance out our global data. All regions have differing markets, and if our traffic were concentrated in one or more regions, our global data would be inappropriately affected by those regions. Country level weighting removes any bias by region.

    So I'm to trust numbers that I know have a flawed methodology?
    Why not these then
    http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp [w3schools.com]
    Oh, but weight, stat counter started removing chrome over counts.

    Further to a significant number of user requests, we are now adjusting our browser stats to remove the effect of prerendering in Google Chrome. From 1 May 2012, prerendered pages (which are not actually viewed) are not included in our stats.

  • by JOrgePeixoto (853808) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:53AM (#40088023) Journal

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_browser_market_share#Summary_table [wikipedia.org]

    In the data for April, only Net Applications put MSIE significant ahead of Google Chrome. The other 3 sources, on average, give *lower* usage of MSIE than Stat Counter.

  • Eventually Chrome will rule the market. Google promotes it aggressively from their homepage. Under today's musical doodle was this text: "Upgrade to a modern browser and see what this doodle can really do." I'm on Firefox 12, by the way.
  • by Mr Z (6791) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @10:58AM (#40088113) Homepage Journal

    A tangentially related question: Has anyone gotten in trouble with violating their employer's Acceptable Use Policy due to browser preloading / precaching? Often, in search results or even certain news sites there are outbound links to places I'd never visit from work. But if Chrome (or even Firefox) is clicking those links behind my back, my IP address is in a corporate log somewhere as having "visited" that site, isn't it?

    How are these preload/precache "hits" distinguished from normal hits? Obviously, if some of the sites are filtering these out, there's some way to tell them apart. At the same time, if the "hits" were noticeably different, there's always the chance the webserver would serve up different pages based on this difference.

    • by Mr Z (6791)
      It also raises the ancillary question: If my browser does precache/prerender a page, how does the website detect when I do actually visit it?
  • Imagine my surprise when I loaded up Skype on my iPhone today and noticed that at the top of your contact list, it now displays an ad banner - for Internet Explorer! With an "install now" notice.

    Not only did I think someone at MS might be smart enough to realize that I can't install IE on my iPhone, but I thought this is the exact anti-competitive behaviour they had been found guilty for? You know, pushing the crapware IE with their near-monopoly in other areas?

    Anyone got a Skype alternative? I knew it was

    • Not only did I think someone at MS might be smart enough to realize that I can't install IE on my iPhone, but I thought this is the exact anti-competitive behaviour they had been found guilty for? You know, pushing the crapware IE with their near-monopoly in other areas?

      I doubt Skype has a monopoly in its market.

  • I run it on 100% of my two machines!

  • Seriously? Use whatever browser works for you. Who gives a shit about this stupid pissing contest.
  • IE only runs for a lot of people when they run windows update.

    Because no one has found a way to use Chrome or Firefox to run windows update.... yet..

  • by jacobsm (661831)

    And the world cares, why?

  • Pot calling the kettle black...

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Working...