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Browser Use On Mobile Devices Exceeds PC Browsing Worldwide: StatCounter (cnet.com) 34

Google is only expected to push the mobile web further now that there are 2 billion active Chrome installs. At the Chrome Dev Summit, Google's vice president of Chrome engineering and the conference's opening speaker said, "We have over 2 billion Chrome instances that are active," which makes Chrome a platform with immense power. The company is expected to reveal how the platform's unbeatable reach earns Chrome and browsers in general a place on the big stage. CNET reports: That power is essential to making Google's vision a reality. If it succeeds, that browser icon might be the one you reach for on your home screen a lot more often. Success on that front also could help restore the fortunes of the web, the closest the computing industry has come to freeing us from software that works only on one device or another, like a Windows laptop but not an iPhone. In an era when tech giants wield tremendous power, the web levels the playing field and makes it easier for new competitors to join the game. It's no wonder Google is pushing the mobile web. This month, browser usage on tablets and phones for the first time surpassed usage on PCs, analytics firm StatCounter said. In October, global mobile and tablet browsing accounted for 51.3% compared to the desktop's 48.7%. However, in other parts of the world the desktop is still king. For example, in the UK the desktop accounts for 55.6% of browsing, 58% in the U.S. and 55.1% in Australia. StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said: "This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not. Mobile compatibility is increasingly important not just because of growing traffic but because Google favors mobile-friendly websites for its mobile search results."
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Browser Use On Mobile Devices Exceeds PC Browsing Worldwide: StatCounter

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  • Thats a shame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2016 @06:39PM (#53261465)

    Doing anything internet related on a 4-7" touchscreen sucks, from its shitty 2" keyboard with no texture to the rampant privacy breaches to the crap bandwidth, its all just a shitty experience, which is a shame.

    • Re:Thats a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2016 @06:51PM (#53261521)

      Every once in a while I have no choice but to use my phone or tablet to look something up online. I just cringe every time.
      It's a really crappy user experience. Ads, tracking, crazy slowness, and the ugliest possible layout.
      I really feel sorry for people whose only web device is mobile.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        You can block ads on android and ios (9+ only IIRC)
        The old 3G phones the experience is even worse than on android or ios without adblock on my samsung convoy 3 it nags every time it switches from an insecure to a secure connection slow as hell but sometimes if the page doesn't load in a weird way that covers it up I can use it to find a phone number of a business I need to contact.

        I miss the browser on my old phone (lg rhythm aka ax585) at least it had a scroll wheel.

      • by dnaumov ( 453672 )

        Every once in a while I have no choice but to use my phone or tablet to look something up online. I just cringe every time.
        It's a really crappy user experience. Ads, tracking, crazy slowness, and the ugliest possible layout.
        I really feel sorry for people whose only web device is mobile.

        You and I are not the average user. The average human finds a computer too complicated, too complex, bulky and ugly.

      • It's not a shame, it means that more people are browsing on Linux today than any other operating system. Possibly more than all others combined.

        • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

          "The year of Linux on the desktop" never happened.
          "The year of Linux in your pocket" did.

          • "The year of Linux on the desktop" already happened for somewhere between 40 and 80 million people.

  • Yeah... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nnull ( 1148259 ) on Thursday November 10, 2016 @06:55PM (#53261545)

    But how many mobile devices are actually doing something useful on the web? I end up going to a PC if I'm going to purchase stuff off of Amazon for example. I may occasionally read some news through my phone, but I try not too because of the small font. Tablets? If every website didn't switch to a damn mobile phone style format on a 10-12" tablet, I might find it useful. I have to click a button to "Request the desktop version". I don't think they're replacing desktop PC's yet, for now, they just compliment my PC when I don't want to lug around my laptop.

    And then we have all the bots on android devices, not even google knows how many there are.

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      I think google is one of the very worst offenders on this they replace all the links to the cached version of the page with this little triangle that you can't click on in iOS. What the hell was wrong with the old way and just show "Cached" out next to the url that worked on everything!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But how many mobile devices are actually doing something useful on the web?

      It's a good question, but I'll relay a data point from my own experiences with setting up online shopping carts for my clients: More than 50% of the purchases are from mobile devices, for an audience of mostly English-speaking users that range in age from about 20-55. (We can probably debate whether they're "doing something useful", but completing orders is certainly "useful" to my clients.)

      For one of my clients, whose audience is mostly women 18-35 interested in "relationship, fitness, and beauty", the s

      • by nnull ( 1148259 )
        Interesting metric. There was an article from Amazon how mobile shopping approached 60%, so pretty close to your numbers. I'll still use a desktop PC for my purchases. It would be interesting to see a break down of the OS versions being used as well. I wonder how many outdated Android or IOS devices are being used.
    • I run Firefox and set it to identify as desktop, not mobile. Then I pretty much use it as normal on my Nexus 4 and 7. Could use a few more pixels, and cut & paste is pure crap, but otherwise fine.

    • You are no longer the norm. My teams build and support a web ecommerce platform for 9 name-brand apparel companies (names you'd recognize) that all are under one parent publicly-traded corporation. The platform does a huge amount of online sales every day, and individually the brands hit $1m days on a regular basis. The brands have very divergent market segments and product lines, from high-income outdoor enthusiasts, to midwest soccer moms, to teenage punk rockers.

      Want to know what's common across all the

  • Laptops are essentially the same thing as desktops in terms of software (and near-equivalent in terms of hardware). In fact, some people I know have their laptop set up as essentially a very thin PC case, hooked up to an external keyboard/monitor/mouse/sound. Yet it is technically a "mobile" and not a "desktop".

    I bet they're counting laptops as part of their phone and tablet mania, because inflating numbers is how to make news.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I doubt it.

      They probably track these things based on browser user agents. A laptop user agent will be indistinguishable from a desktop one (assuming same os/browser), and there are very few ways to reliably tell them apart.

      You can try to guess based on screen dimensions, but that is EXTREMELY unreliable (I'm a little foggy on the details, but I think you can't retrieve the actual screen size, just browser window size), so I doubt they'd use that.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      The difference between a laptop and a device running a smartphone-derived operating system is that laptops got a multi-window user interface as a standard feature in the 1990s, while devices running a smartphone-derived operating system didn't get that feature until Android 7 "Nougat". In addition, a user of a laptop is more likely to have a keyboard connected at any given moment than a user of a device running a smartphone-derived operating system.

  • Mobile Sites Suck (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Desktops versions are far more information dense. Meaning they're faster to use while giving you more information. I've got no problem zooming in to a specific point or reading tiny text. Give me the desktop version any day every day. And please, stop with the custom, site-specific image viewers. By browser can display an image better than whatever image viewer your site develops. Please stop trying to be fancy and different. Hell, even Chrome changed from the hamburger icon to three dots and those d

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