Bing has 10% search market share. Maybe.

So the latest news is that Microsoft’s Bing search engine has nabbed 10% of the US search engine market and is now the fastest growing search engine. If Jason Calacanis is right, and every 1% of the search market is worth US$1billion then this is a nice chunk of change for Microsoft. 

However I contest that these results should not be encouraging for Microsoft, for a couple of reasons.

  1. They’re still in a bit of a honeymoon phase with Bing.  They’re still releasing new functionality (You need to switch to United States to see that) and people are experimenting with it.
  2. But more importantly I think, a lot of IE6 users had their default search set to Bing (and for a while there, couldn’t change back).  But none the less a significant proportion of the browsing public still use IE6. Around 25% at last count, and a significant proportion of these will have the default search engine set.  Defaults matter.  Also, a fairly large chunk of these IE6 users will be corporate users who cannot change what browser they use due to (often misguided) corporate IT rules. 

    Browser Market Share

 

What this means in practice is that a lot of those using Bing aren’t choosing to do so (or are just giving it a shot), and if & when they are able to choose, they’re likely to go for Google.  As corporate environments ever so slowly upgrade, they’ll allow users to at least move to better versions of IE, and possibly other browsers.  When you install IE8 it asks you what search engine you want to use, and browsers like Firefox just set it to Google.

So while the month-on-month growth that they’ve seen over the last few months may be real, I’m not convinced the base numbers are really representative of persistent usage.  If overnight people dumped IE6 for something better (oh please, Dear Lord, make it so) I think you’d see Bing’s usage numbers go through the floor.

Getting FriendFeed real-time in your Firefox sidebar

FriendFeed has released a real-time page that auto-scrolls all updates from your subscriptions.  There’s a mini window option that allows you to see it in a separate window, but I’ve found the best way to view it is as a sidebar in Firefox.

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To get this you need to bookmark the mini-window page, so open the mini window, right click on the page and select ‘Bookmark this page’.  Then right-click on the bookmark, select ‘Properties’ and check the ‘Load this bookmark in the sidebar’ check box & click ‘Save Changes’.

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Now when you select this bookmark, the real time view will open in your sidebar – awesome!.

Google gets shiny with Chrome

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Google has released its experimental browser called Chrome, a new type of browser built on the Webkit rendering engine.

Google have said that this is designed to be a whole new type of browser, built around the concept of web ‘applications’ as opposed to web ‘sites’.  The idea is that the new breed of sites are now applications that you spend a lot of time in, as opposed to simply sites that you visit briefly.

The major change is that each tab in now running in its own CPU process, which means that there shouldn’t be the issue of one site’s processor-intensive Javascript or some plugin (Adobe I’m looking at you) locking up or bringing down the whole browser.

From the Google Blog announcement

All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends — all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.

My first impressions are very positive.  It’s fast, very fast.  They’ve optimised the heck out of the Javascript engine.  You can see the comparison between Firefox 3 & Chrome’s Dromaeo test results: Firefox’s 1983.40ms compared to Chrome’s 574.60ms.  That’s almost 1 & 1/2 second’s difference. Sure that was a fairly unscientific test, I wasn’t controlling for other processes, but the massive difference is indicative of a major improvement in JS performance.

So here’s what I’ve found so far:

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We have a launch date for Firefox 3 (plus an extra RC)

From the Mozilla Developer Centre:

Whenever we’re asked “when is Firefox going to be released” we endeavour to answer to the best of our abilities, but the truth of the matter is that we’ll only ever ship “when it’s ready”. We have a lot of indicators that help us understand when the product is ready for release: feedback from our pre-release milestones, excitement in the community and the press, availability of compatible Add-Ons, and a large active beta community helping us ensure that the release is compatible with all the various sites on the Internet.

After more than 34 months of active development, and with the contributions of thousands, we’re proud to announce that we’re ready. It is our expectation to ship Firefox 3 this upcoming Tuesday, June 17th. Put on your party hats and get ready to download Firefox 3 – the best web browser, period.

Plus the 3rd Release Candidate is out today.  Unless you’re on a Mac you don’t need it though, as it contains only a single change to fix a Mac-only bug that was causing the system to hang or crash at startup or shutdown.

Firefox 3 RC2 Released

image Mozilla has released the second Release Candidate for Firefox 3, if you had RC1 installed it would have come as an automatic update, otherwise you can get it from the download page.  The release notes for RC2 are here

There aren’t any new features, this is a pure bugfix release. Ironically though, there are more ‘known issues’ in RC2 than there were in RC1 (21 vs 17). 

The final for Firefox 3 is due later this month I believe.