The latest Web metrics data from StatCounter shows Internet Explorer and Chrome in a virtual dead heat for the top position in the global browser market, with 32.42 percent and 32.29 percent market shares, respectively, during the first three weeks of May.
Firefox held a 25.28 percent share followed by Safari with 7.14 percent and Opera with 1.5 percent.
On the other hand, U.S.-based rival Web metrics firm Net Applications reported that IE continues to hold a significant lead over rival browser makers on traditional PC platforms around the world. The Web metrics firm's latest data shows IE with a 54.1 percent share, followed by Firefox (20.2 percent), Chrome (18.9 percent) and Safari (4.8 percent).
Starting in February, Net Applications began adjusting its usage share numbers based on the pre-rendering functionality in Chrome, which displays thumbnails of Web site pages in Google's search lists. This had been inflating Net Applications' Chrome browsing statistics posted by approximately 4.14 percent with respect to usage share.
"Because pre-rendering can substantially misrepresent usage share numbers, it's important for analytics companies like us to adjust for pre-rendering to provide accurate data on usage share to our customers," said Net Applications Executive Vice President Vince Vizzaccaro earlier this year.
Chrome's Inflated Data
Google's browser has incorporated a pre-rendering functionality since the debut of Chrome 13 last year, with the principal advantage being that pre-rendered pages load faster when the user elects to click on the associated search result link. And with the release of Chrome 17, Google expanded the behavior to include search queries typed into the Omnibox. "so we anticipate more pre-rendering traffic in the future," Vizzaccaro said.
Indeed, when Google rolled out Chrome 19 last week the new browser release added the ability to sync all the user's open tabs across all of the individual's devices when the user signs in to Chrome. If these open tabs include Google search inquiry pages then it could inflate Chrome's browser statistics even further.
We attempted to contact StatCounter to ascertain how the rival Web metrics firm based in Dublin, Ireland, accounts for the pre-rendering issue. Due to the time difference between Europe and North America, however, StatCounter was unable to immediately respond to our request for clarification. (continued...)
Posted: 2012-05-21 @ 3:33pm PT
We do adjust for prerendering in Chrome:
Adjustment has been applied since 1 May 2012.
(We haven't received any email from you though - feel free to contact us if you have any further questions - http://gs.statcounter.com/feedback)
We also explain our view on page views here:
And we address geo-weighting with the CIA data here:
Other differences between StatCounter Global Stats and Net Apps are outlined here: