Browsers of our lives
The browser soap opera got quite more interesting. Google is apparently building a browser based on Mozilla. This might well have the effect on getting rid of the inscrutable IE, which has become a similar technical burden Netscape 4 was.
The best statistics available to me, first-hand, are from homokaasu.org and according to them, during the last year, usage of IE has diminished from 82.6% (Oct 2003) to 64.1% (Sep 2004, days 1-20). These figures are based on 2,7 million visits from 1,9 million unique visitors so there must be statistical significance. The logs have been analyzed with software par excellent, Awstats.
However, one must consider a few things when pondering this data.
- The visitors of homokaasu.org are more technically inclined than the average user and thus prefer Firefox or Opera
- The Rasterbator is a particularily attractive to Mac users
Nevertheless, the change is quite astounding - I wouldn't have guessed such a decline in IE usage. And now Google is stirring the balance even more. Jason Kottke has found some interesting references such as the registration of gbrowser.com and revealing error messages in the Mozilla development database (Bugzilla). There are articles in New York Post (not to be viewed without Adblock) and The Register.
As a web developer, I really would like to get rid of the mass using IE 6 (but I'm not listing it's shortcomings, "features" or bugs here). There are two acceptable ways to achieve this.
- People migrate to better browsers
- Microsoft publishes a standards-compliant version and rams it down their auto-update pipes