Monday, September 22, 2008

Google Analytics starts tracking Chrome, with intriguing results

Since Google Analytics started tracking Chrome on Thursday, the new browser is showing a browser share of 6% or higher on some Web sites -- including BetaNews. But that's much higher than the under 2% share reported by Net Applications.

A follow-up look at Net Applications' hourly statistics for estimated worldwide Web browser usage share, conducted at around 2:00 pm today -- showed that Chrome achieved its peak penetration of 1.73% of the world's HTTP requests on Sept. 5 at 4:00 am EDT.

Now, Google's own analytics engine is tracking Google's own browser -- and on at least some Web sites, including BetaNews, Google Analytics is showing a lot more relative usage for Chrome.

Google Analytics first added Chrome to its browser tracking capabilities on Sept. 4, but the intent to do so was already in place. In a blog post on Sept. 2, the day that Chrome entered beta, Jeff Gillis of the Google Analytics Team told Web site customers that Google Analytics would start listing Chrome as a browser in its reports "very soon."

A Google Analytics report run by BetaNews at about 2:00 pm on Sept. 5 gave Chrome a 6.83% browser share, in contrast to 42.85% for Firefox (all versions and platforms), 39.38% for Internet Explorer (all versions), 4.63% for Safari (all platforms), and 3.97% for Opera (all platforms). All additional browsers got lumped together under "other."

The big gap between the Net Applications sample worldwide and Google Analytics' results for BetaNews alone, may not be all that surprising given BetaNews' more technically-minded readership.

A similar discrepancy appears in browser share data for IE and Firefox. Although Net Applications is running hourly tracking reports on Chrome, Chrome hasn't appeared yet in its monthly browser report. But where BetaNews' Google Analytics' report shows Firefox as the number one browser, Net Applications' latest monthly report indicates the reverse, with IE in the lead.

Specifically, IE gets a 72.15% share, followed by 19.73% for Firefox, 6.37% for Safari, 0.74% for Opera, 0.72% for Netscape, 0.10% for Mozilla (those early experimental builds, non-Firefox), and 0.17 percent for "other," according to Net Applications' monthly report.

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