Browser Wars

Last week an article was floating around the Internet that claimed, via an “official” study, that people who used Internet Explorer were dumber than those that used other browsers to surf the internet. I saw the story as reported by CNN. It turns out though that the report was a fake. A new article yesterday speaks about how the company that issued the findings doesn’t actually exist and neither did the study. CNN wasn’t the only media outlet to get fooled by it though. The story was also reported on by NPR, BBC, CNET, Forbes and other large trusted media outlets.

This led me to wonder though, what are people’s take on all the browsers out there? So, I went to my number one trusted source, the Internet, to find out what people were saying. Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I decided to run a comparison between the four most commonly used browsers; Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. This is by no means a scientific study, nor one that I would claim to be 100% accurate, more of just a quick look at a whim of my own curiosity.

First, I trended out talk of each of the browsers on top of each other over the past six months. Clearly, Chrome seems to be the browser talked about the most and at a fairly regular pace as well. Firefox seemed to also hold steady at an almost level pace of mentions except for that large spike we can see in March, which is when they released Firefox 4. In fact, it seems that each of the browsers tended to hold a semi-steady pace of conversation over the past six months.

I then broke that information down into a pie chart so we could actually see how much each browser was being talked about in social media. Chrome clearly dominated the conversation by holding 37.3% between the four browsers. Firefox, the browser mentioned second most came in nearly 10% less with 27.9%, followed by Internet Explorer at 21.7% and Safari with the least at 12.9%.

If we break those down into actual numbers we can see that Chrome actually had about a million more mentions than the second place Firefox. Safari actually had more than 2 million less mentions than Chrome.

To be fair though, mentions don’t always mean everything. A lot of those mentions could be people complaining publicly about their browser. So, to dig a little deeper I ran a sentiment analysis on each of the four browsers across blogs, Twitter, forums and online news. By doing this, the race became much tighter. By doing this I found that Internet Explorer actually garnered the most amount of positive sentiment. However, they also received the largest amount of negative sentiment which averaged them out to be the lowest ranking browser in terms of sentiment. I also found that while Safari and Firefox were very far apart in the number of mentions they were receiving, they came out to be very close together in overall perception. Both Safari and Firefox had 12% of talk about them categorized as negative. Also worth noting is that Safari actually had more positive talk (30%) than Firefox (28%). Lastly, we can see that Chrome is clearly a favourite with the least amount of negative talk (11%) and the second highest amount of positive sentiment (32%) which gave it an average to just beat out the competition.



Internet Explorer


In my personal opinion it seems as though Google’s Chrome is clearly the browser of choice if we judge by what is being said in social media. This actually made me feel a bit better too as I’m a Chrome user. What browser are you using and do you love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments.

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