January 2006 browser statistics

In January, looking at the number of pages that were viewed, around 63% of visitors used Internet Explorer to access a page on the StrivingLife.net Network, while 26% used Firefox.  After that, about 3.5% used Safari, followed by 2.9% using Mozilla and 2.2% using Opera.  Netscape?  1.4%.

Of course, the Firefox numbers give it away pretty well - we cater to a more technologically literate group than the Internet as a whole.  Of course, the fact that Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 shows up in statistics as far back as July 2005 points to that as well.

Unfortunately, that doesn't follow all the way down.  While only about 3% of the Internet Explorer hits come from versions of Internet Explorer before 6.0 (so, about 1.9% of all hits come from pre-Internet Explorer 6.0 browsers), a staggering 40% of Firefox hits come from versions of Firefox before 1.5 (so, about 10.8% of all hits come from pre-Firefox 1.5 browsers).

Of course, it's possible that the numbers could be slightly off.  For example, someone using Firefox 1.5 could view one page, while someone using Firefox 0.8 could view 15 pages.  If the one group, over the other, consistently views more pages, then numbers are bound to be off.

Nonetheless, this raises a great question - why should one browser have more up-to-date users than the other, especially if Firefox is supposed to be for the more technologically literate?  Sure, Internet Explorer is bound to get updated if the person uses Windows or Microsoft Update, and most people buy new computers instead of upgrading their old (and since most computers come with IE 6 already installed), but Firefox is for techies, and techies keep things up-to-date.  Right?

Maybe the problem is Firefox is being pushed to everyone and their mother (from experience, I can tell you that this is in fact true), but not everyone and their mother knows, yet, that they've got to follow up on updates.  Heck, this is why Microsoft wants people to let Windows take care of the updating - most people just don't/can't update by themselves.

Harsh?  Maybe.  But anti-virus software has been doing it since the 90s, and isn't that (usually) a good thing?  Heck, we're busy people, we don't have time to be thinking about keeping things up-to-date.  If bills didn't get sent to us, would we remember what we have to pay each month?  Sure, we may be able to remember a number of the things we would have to pay, but all of them?

If you've stuck through this post, or even if you've just skipped ahead, thanks.  And here's a homework assignment: update your browser.  Usually you can find a Help > About ... menu item where you can find out what version you're using.  For some (like Firefox), you'll have a nice menu item along the lines of 'check for updates'.  Use it, as that's what it's there for.

What will you get out of it?  Satisfaction?  A safer browser, no matter what you're using?  Heck, maybe even free stuff?

Homework assignment: Check whether you need an update to your browser.  If you do, take a screenshot of this post, with your <strong>current</strong> browsers version information visible.  Update, and take another screenshot.  Then send an email to StrivingLife [at] Gmail.com (no spaces and with the @ substitution) including these images in either a word processing document, or just as images.  As February goes on, I'll announce who had the oldest browser, who had the most current, and who wins free stuff.