Google to IE9 Users: "Come here often? Make Google your homepage"


Google is the default search engine on virtually every browser – with one exception: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which obviously users Microsoft’s own Bing. Now that Microsoft is rolling out version 9 of Internet Explorer to most of its users, Google is actively courting these users with a large blue bar on its homepage: “Come here often? Make Google your homepage.” The possible answers: “Sure” and “No thanks.” If you decline, Google will then show you an ad for Chrome every time you go to

Image credit: Google Operating System


via: Google Operating System

1:55 pm

Microsoft Wants to Set the Record Straight on IE9 vs. Firefox 4 Download Numbers


With the launch of a major new version of virtually every major browser in the last few weeks, the discussion around how many downloads each one of them got is unavoidable and, as Microsoft’s senior director of its Internet Explorer business and marketing group, Ryan Gavin calls it, “a natural temptation.” In comparison with Mozilla, which just launched Firefox 4 last week, Microsoft’s download numbers don’t look great. Mozilla saw about twice as many downloads as IE9 during the first 24 hours of Firefox 4’s general availability (2.4 million vs. 7 million). According to Microsoft, however, there is a very good reason for this.

The difference between the way Microsoft releases its browser and the update mechanisms that Mozilla and Google have in place, though, means that it’s virtually impossible to draw any conclusions based on these 24-hour download numbers. Gavin rightly notes that both Mozilla and Google have automatic update systems in place that starts rolling the new browser version out to virtually all of their active users on the day it becomes available. Microsoft takes a very different and more conservative approach, though.

Firefox 4 Download Stats

Microsoft: “90% of IE9 Downloads Have Come From Non-IE9 RC and Beta Users”

Until now, only those users who downloaded IE9 directly were counted in Microsoft’s numbers. Indeed, Microsoft only turned on automatic updates for users who had beta and release candidate versions of IE9 installed yesterday. So far, according to Gavin, 90% of downloads of IE9 “have come from non-IE9 RC and Beta users.” IE9 still hasn’t been released for automatic updates through Windows Update, so comparing the early download numbers is, says Gavin “premature at best, and misleading at worst.”

While Gavin calls for “a thoughtful approach to measuring browser adoption,” he does take a slight swipe at the other browser vendors and, between the lines, accuses them of counting incomplete downloads in their numbers (“And remember, we report completed downloads – not attempted downloads where a user may hit a download button repeatedly but without fully downloading IE9.”).

Gavin also argues that his group is fully focused on Windows 7 and wants to give users on this operating system an “experience that will push the web forward.” Other vendors, he says, don’t have this “singular goal” of making their browser as good as it can be on Windows 7, as they focus on other operating systems, too. Some, of course, would argue that it’s a good thing to offer your browser for as many platforms as possible…

While I don’t fully agree with the overall sentiment of his argument, his call for pundits to wait for the point where IE9 becomes available through Windows Update is well taken (“Until that time, don’t get too wrapped up in the browser number gymnastics currently going on.”).

12:41 pm

Internet Explorer 9 RC: 2 Million Downloads in 6 Days


Even though some argue that Internet Explorer 9 is about two years late, there is clearly still a lot of interest in Microsoft’s newest browser. Since its launch on February 10, the release candidate of IE9 has been downloaded 2 million times. This number only includes user-initiated downloads, as Microsoft has not pushed automatic updates to current IE9 beta users.

It’s worth noting that the IE9 beta saw 2 million downloads within the first two days after it launched. The difference here, though, is that the first beta also marked the first time Microsoft showed the IE9 interface to the public. Many users likely just downloaded it just to see what the new interface looked like. The beta release was also heavily covered in mainstream media outlets.

One of the reasons to be interested in the IE9 release candidate is the fact that this the first version of IE9 to include Microsoft’s interpretation of a “do not track” feature. This allows Internet users to tell online advertisers and search engines that they want to opt out of behavioral tracking. Mozilla and Google have also launched their own versions of this feature in the last few weeks. For the time being, though, none of these systems are compatible with each other.

10:49 am