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Googles Prefetch Jacks Up FireFox Numbers

     
2:56 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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FireFox numbers doubled last month on some trackers. Downloads of FF at download.com however - have remained static. Which leads to the simple question - why would numbers increase so much?
The only answer, Googles Prefetch is artificially increasing Mozilla/FF numbers

[theregister.co.uk...]

Janco Associates found IE had 83.7 per cent of the market for this month, down from 84.85 per cent, while Firefox grew from 4.23 per cent to 10.28 per cent. Janco believes Firefox could take 25 per cent market share in the next quarter.

[webmasterworld.com...]

In other news, how much you wanna bet FireFox and mozilla numbers are up next month?
3:02 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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From the same article

Separately, Infocraft reported the browser is approaching nearly 50m downloads, up from February's milestone figure of 25m, which was recorded 99 days after Firefox 1.0 became available last November.
3:06 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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One of my new sites is getting 9-10% of visitors using Firefox. 90-95% of the traffic is coming from Yahoo!
3:37 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am seeing around 10% either (and those numbers are on very high traffic sites).
On some its around 8.6% one one even 11%
4:16 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing different firefox usage rates from 8% to 36% across the sites that I run - none of which cater to a technology related user-base.

Interestingly the sites that cater to the younger generations are showing much higher percentages than the others.

Edit: Forgot to mention that none of these sites have google positions that would enable the pre-fetching to have any effect.

11:24 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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W3Schools puts current Firefox use at 23.9% and rising fast!

[w3schools.com...]

11:47 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think you're right on the money about the prefetch. I also see some sites with very few FF's (around 2-4%) as well as sites with a large majority of FF (tech sites).

In a week or so, i'll probably see some total figures for all of Denmark, which won't reflect the rest of the world (we've got 80% internet penetration here), and won't reflect tech sites either, but will give a good impression about adoption in the general public. My guess is 5% at most but it could be 10% because of prefetch.

1:30 am on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Standard sites, across the board, all coming in at 8-12% Firefox. That's pretty steady, week in and week out, grow a little each month, two of the sites are especially interesting to me because they have no appeal to tech/geek types in any way, shape or form, and have the most average of average user demographics. The highest percents I see are around 45% or so, sometimes gets close to 50% firefox, but not on sites that appeal to standard users. I'd imagine WebmasterWorld sees numbers like that, maybe a little lower, 35-40% firefox. It starts places like here and spreads out.

The numbers are real. It's the same story over and over, person goes to tech, finds out they have coolwebsearch, tech says stop using IE, one less IE user. Geek soninlaw goes to grandma's house, tells her: your banking information is not secure, one less IE user. Since grandma happened to catch this in USA today, she follows his advice.

3:09 am on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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One thing I know for sure - many more people now KNOW that they have a browser, and know that they have a choice, even if they are staying with IE. It's been a long time since the general web user had that awareness.
11:03 pm on May 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> In a week or so

...the Firefox share was around 4% for total Danish web traffic, month of April 2005 (some random person in a pub told me). Some sites having less and some having a whole lot more, max being more than 20%.

7:46 am on May 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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While FF use is obviously on the rise, I think Brett's topic was:

Is Google's Prefetch artificially increasing Mozilla/FF numbers in stats?

10:44 am on May 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I must be missing something here.

Why would Google prefetch boost Firefox numbers preferentially?
Wouldn't prefetch boost numbers for ALL browsers in proportion to their usage / market share? - Larry

12:14 pm on May 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Of course prefetch is increasing those numbers artificially, that lies in the very definition of what prefetch is:

A mechanism used with the Firefox browser to fetch pages from the SERPs regardless of, if the user will later click on those or not. When such a thing is done by the largest Search Engine in terms og market share, it does influence stats.

larryhatch: This is a method specific to the Firefox browser.

11:19 pm on May 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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About firefox numbers rising faster than spreadfirefox counters, it's worth noting that people can get it many other ways. A tax authority, think it was the Geneva one, recently sent it out on CD to a million people. Whole universities, companies and web-cafes can move to firefox with one download each. Most linux distributions now come with firefox. And so on.
1:20 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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On 60,000 Visitors I am only seeing about a 1% increase in FF users from the beginning of the year.

Jan. 53,000 Visitors 1.5% FF Browser 96% IE

This month 60,000 2.4% FF 94% IE

40% SE Traffic from Yahoo
35% From Googs
20% MSN

5:23 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't be surprised if Google's plan were to artificially inflate the stats. The more prevalent FF use appears, the more attention it will get. Google wants people to stop using IE, so it's not out of the realm of possiblity that they would do something like that.
6:49 am on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Google wants people to stop using IE...

What's the source of this statement?
7:12 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Source is common sense... Why do you want the company that desires to unseat you to have the top browser?
7:38 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Source is common sense

No

You made a statement accusing Google to want users to stop using IE. Post a link to the source where Google says this, or identify your above statement as hearsay or as your own opinion. Because frankly, I don't believe Google has ever said this.

4:32 am on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Are you kidding me? Seriously...

If you didn't know they were competitors, this might help:

[fortune.com...]

comĚpetĚiĚtor
The noun competitor has one meaning:
Meaning #1: the contestant you hope to defeat

[answers.com...]

Do you think they would rather have people use IE, which uses MSN as the default search engine, or use FF, which uses G as the default?

Like I said: common sense!
Who cares if I didn't cite a source.

Here are some more truths for you that don't need a source: Toyota doesn't want people to buy Volkswagons. Kerry did not want Bush to win. Macintosh does not want people to buy PCs.

If you need a source to know that these are truths, then you need to get out of academia and enter the real world. I'm not trying to win the Pulitzer here so there is no need for a source.

5:42 am on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Google would like FF to be used because it has G as the default home page. IE has MSN as the default home page. Google has to want FF to do better than IE. MS is a competiter that has openly said [webmasterworld.com] that G is a flah in the pan and that MS will rule the search world.
9:42 am on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Can we keep this thread on topic please!
9:45 pm on June 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yes Google does include a prefetch instruction for the first listing on a search. I suspect they do this on the assumption that the user will most likely next ask for the top listing. By inserting the prefetch instruction, they speed up the rendering of the first page, which makes the page appear to load faster for the user.

It just so happens, that MSIE does not respond to the prefetch instruction. While this could inflate Firefox stats on sites that typically get first place listings in their related search results, it will have little impact on most sites that do not garner the #1 search result position.

The conspiracy theories that Google are doing this for covert marketing reasons sounds like a bunch of bull. To me, it appears very obvious that Google is only doing this to improve the user expierence.

2:33 pm on June 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I remember reading on a popular developers website, I don't remember which one, that says visitors to his site are slightly over 50% FF. I find it interesting that developers are using FF while "the masses" are using IE.

I had no real reason to switch to FF until I started coding for the web again. Now I don't use IE anymore.