If Google’s Not Creating A Browser Then Why Are They Showing Up as Having Market Share by Browser on My Sitemeter Account?

If Google is not building a browser, then why do they have .2% of the traffic from their browser going to my site? And does your browser share statistic tell you anything about the intelligence of your readership?

Michael Russell posted a blog entry on the “Slashdot Weenie” effect yesterday. In the post he generalized Slashdot readers and posters down to a few narrowily defined stereotypes. Although much of his post was satire tongue and cheek type stuff, I thought one comment made deserved additional examination:

Per Russell: “On Tuesday of last week, I posted a reply (on Slashdot) to a post about Firefox’s goal to get 10% of the browser market. I posted a URL and the browser stats for that URL.

During the next day, we received over 300 visitors linked from Slashdot, trying to skew our browser stats towards Firefox or Opera or Konquerer or Lynx or whatever alternative browser was out there. (Firefox never did make 10%.) Which means that for this post, about 300 people who read the comments decided to follow the link, either to find out what the site was, or to skew the results. Regardless, that was it.”

So I decided to check my browser results and have always been surprised to see a much larger than 10% market share for Firefox. My first reaction was a “what the hey?! Google 4.X has .2% of my browser traffic? This is new.

As to Firefox, sure enough Firefox makes up 20% of my browser market share. Although I’ve had a few articles published on Slashdot I would not categorize my readership as “exclusively” Slashdot. In fact I’ve been posted much more over at The Green Button, a site dedicated to Microsoft’s new Media Center Edition software. I think that Michael’s comment seems to imply that there was some sort of conspiracy on the part of juvenille and zealous Slashdotters to “skew” his results.

No, I think that as a whole Slashdot visitors probably do use Firefox more than the average user and for good reason. Slashdot users are probably, generally speaking, more technically literate than other audiences and even more significantly, it’s a significantly better browser.

It’s not even close. Those who know technology and do not have any ties to Microsoft know this and even those who do work for and have ties with Microsoft know this deep down. They can’t admit it but that’s ok, the market will do it for them. It’s like someone saying that VHS is better than DVD or that vinyl is better than CD. Sure the guy who spent 15 years of his life between 1970 and 1985 collecting 9,000 vinyl LPs is going to say this. How can he not? To admit otherwise would be to mock his 15 years of wasted time. I’ve heard it before. Uh, the warmth of the sound of vinyl is just not the same as a CD. Yeah right. Geez guys, I know Firefox is a better browser but I’d really miss my morning routine of running Spybot and Adaware every day. They’ve become such good friends, they’re almost like family. Yeah right.

So let me ask you a question. What does your browser share statistic look like? I’ll give you a tip, the higher the percentage of non IE browser users, the more technically literate your readership. And do you work for Microsoft but secretly use Firefox at home? If you do drop an anonymous comment to this post.

One thing does skew the browser results though and that is an affiliation with Microsoft and thus high Microsoft readership. I’d imagine for instance that someone like Robert Scoble would have a high IE browser share.

Just some thoughts.

Others who have noticed the Google browser showing up as well: David Mobley, Mark Engle

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  1. Nice post. A lot of my post was “tongue-in-cheek,” but then again, that’s how I deal with lots of things.

    Actually, the site I was referring to that I posted was not my own site. It’s the local government site that I am webmaster for. I didn’t call out the link because I didn’t want to further skew the results.

    For my personal site, I get 30% alternative browsers, but Safari beats Firefox. Go figure.

    As for me thinking that the Slashdot crew were trying to skew the results, when you read the replies, you get that feeling.


  2. Anonymous says:

    great article on browser usage and the analysis of the data. i find it humurous that there is a Google browser. although i wonder how it compares with Firefox. I’d like to mention that TGB doesn’t support Firefox and it gets me mad when I try to go on it with firefox. So I have to use IE. also, i think TGB is trying to kiss up to MS by designing around IE browser. They like that fact that Microsoft links to them and want to make sure they are pro-Microsoft.

    BTW, I’m using IE now, but I am at work. so that’s my excuse.

  3. Tyrantmizar says:

    I’ve noticed the “Google broswer” on my statistics too. I think it might be either completely and truely beta, or just the Google spidering system.

    Did you know this post is #1 if you search for “sitemeter google browser”?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Google 4.x counts for the search engine accesing your page for indexing.