Rumor Busted: Google Chrome Becomes the Worlds Most Used Web Browser
News reports like this one from globalpost and businessinsider have been popping up over the last couple days reporting that Google Chrome has become the worlds most used web browser as reported by StatCounter. Immediately when I heard this I thought that there was no way this could be true so I went to check my own Google Analytics Data…
Google Analytics Browser Data on Car Rentals over the past 30 days:
Google Analytics Browser Data on Housewares for the last 30 days:
As you can see, chrome is not even close to catching up to internet explorer in any of these verticals. To make sure I wasn’t going crazy I ran some reports on Travel in Germany, The Middle East and Spain.
Google Analytics Data on Travel from Germany:
Google Analytics Data on Travel from the Middle East:
Google Analytics Data on Travel from Spain:
* I reviewed about 40 websites in 8 countries and not once did I see Chrome with more usage than Internet Explorer.
The only one of these countries in which Chrome is even beginning to come close is in Spain but it is still a solid 5% below Internet Explorer here. In all of the other countries sampled Internet Explorer has a firm hold on the lead for browser with the most use. With all these questions in my head I began to do some more research and found an article from Microsoft addressing some of the issues with statCounter’s reporting methods.
The main reason for this incorrect data was stated as:
“1. Real usage versus prerendered non-usage share. Starting in June of last year with Chrome v13, Chrome began “prerendering” certain web pages in Chrome. With prerendering, Chrome is opening separate Chrome tabs based on user search queries at Google.com or from Chrome’s Omnibox that are invisible to the user. If the user then clicks these search links, then the tab and page will display. However, a certain portion of these links will never be clicked and the user will never see them – remaining invisible to them and therefore not real user page views of those prerendered sites. 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 Chrome users never visited. At least one writer noted “analytics companies that don’t take into account pre-rendering may be inflating Chrome numbers.” One such company is StatCounter, who simply publishes their data as they record it, without any adjustment for prerendering. ”
Besides the prerendering of pages in Chrome, Microsoft also accuses statCounter of over-weighting American browser users in its algorithms.
I think it is safe to go ahead and mark this rumor as busted.