Is Firefox’s 20% market share worth more than just 20%?

About a month and a half ago Mozilla announced Firefox officially held a market share greater than 20%. At the time of posting this marketshare.hitslink shows the share to be 20.41%.

Not too shabby owning a fifth of the market. However a look at the statistics of some of the popular Technology website shows a Firefox market share exceeding 50%. Arstechnica reports a Firefox usage of 51.34%, ReadWriteWeb at 55.04% and Techcrunch just shy of 60% at 57.80%

You might argue that technology websites are likely to be viewed by enthusiasts who are likely to move away from the standard shipped browser and that real number lie in average users. But then again it is the enthusiasts who spend a lot more time browsing than their, if I may say, ‘regular’ counterparts. This is real life scenario.

Doesn’t this increase Firefox’s usage statistics then? As an unrealistically simplified example let’s take 20 people browsing for an hour each versus 70 people browsing for 15 minutes each. Firefox’s timewise usage is higher than IE in this example but that’s not what I’m going for. The point is Firefox may be pegged at 20% (which by the way is a huge achievement) but it’s 20% weighs and counts for a lot more.

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Never mind Gmail, let’s take Chrome out of Beta!

Techcrunch reports that Google VP Marissa Mayer told Michael Arrington (of Techcrunch) that Google will be taking Chrome out of Beta. Turns out this is not news at all. Windowsitpro reports Google VP Sundar Pichai already told the same thing to The Times in UK with a time frame; January. This is most likely due to their decision to increase market share by convincing OEMs to bundle Chrome with new PCs who won’t accept a Beta product.

Gmail despite having a range of features has still been in Beta for years. But Chrome is still an immature product. Speed is its greatest advantage but Opera almost matches that and preliminary tests of Firefox 3.1 Betas show it is likely to match, if not beat, Chrome. In addition FireFox has a wide variety of addons which Chrome is yet to match.

I just think Google is better off developing a fuller product and then distributing the product en-masse rather than ship an incomplete product only to have users switch to a fuller browser.

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Why does Google continue to work with Mozilla while developing a product which is competition with it?

We’ve got a lot of people wondering why Google recently renewed the search deal with Firefox when they had plans to release their own browser. Why the answer to isn’t obvious is beyond me but hey I’ll take my own shot at the obvious answer anyway. So how do I put this simple, let’s see. How about, urm, because it makes damn business sense. Firefox drives a lot of traffic through Google. If Google were to decide to not extend the deal, it would lose anywhere between 15-30% – depends on what continent and service you’re looking at – of the browser share market.

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Google Chrome : First Impressions

So Google Chrome has finally arrived; merely a day after it’s announcement. I’ve been excited for the product from the first moment I laid my eyes on the webcomic. As any self respecting geek would, I downloaded and installed the browser as soon as possible.

It seems fairly stable. Having launched more than 25tabs in lesser number of seconds seems to have had no effect on the browser. From the limited testing I’ve given it , it has worked quite smoothly and fluidly. The version of the browser is, but no beta tag anywhere. Tabs being on top only bother you for the first few seconds after which I didn’t have any problems getting used to it.

A lot of the shortcuts were supported out of the box including Shift + Ctrl + T (reopen last closed tab) and Alt + D (highlight the address bar). These shortcuts exist in Firefox so this makes migration a lot easier. I don’t have benchmarks but gmail opened up in roughly the same time as it does in Firefox 3.0.1

Downloads are shown in a bar below, which looks quite good. A blue arrow animation is displayed when a download begins. I captured a screenshot just in time for your viewing pleasure.

Ctrl + J (another Firefox native shortcut) brings up a nice little list of downloads which looks quite good in my opinion with pie chart style completion icons.

I tried running a few javascript annoyances on The browser has a box which ‘prevents this page from creating additional dialogs’ for websites which keep on throwing boxes at you not letting you switch tabs or close the browser without assistance from the task manager. The tick box didn’t work on the first time always and a second hit of the ‘ok’ button was needed sometimes. But it’s only 0.2 so the behaviour is forgiveable.

There is one major bug though; upward scrolling on touchpads doesn’t work. This is the case on many notebooks, not just mine. So Google take note.

Chrome needs a lot of work before it replaces your full time browser yet. But with Google’s hands in it I only salivate at the possibilities. More on that later.

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Skyfire: PC Style browsing with Flash support.

Skyfire is bringing PC like browsing to the mobile devices. This means content needn’t be changed in any way for the smaller screen, nor will existing content look like shit. While the video looks promising, it’s only available as a closed beta to US customers, so I won’t be getting a chance to review it for a long time. Right now support is included for Windows Mobile devices, but a Symbian version is in the works.

But a very important part of their Privacy policy is that they will be tracking usage “anonymously” but a user’s identitiy may very well be disclosed by the website(s) they visit.

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