February 19, 2010

european browser ballot

Microsoft has posted a draft of the ballot that will appear via Windows Update for IE users in the EU.

The first screen of the ballot features 5 browsers (four rendering engines) randomly ordered and the scrolled off screen section features 7 browsers (three rendering engines) also, but separately, randomly ordered.

Each browser has an icon, a short description, an "Install" link (actually a download link) and a "Tell me more" link. The icon, description and two links were provided by the browser vendors and may be updated periodically over the next 5 years.

A couple of interesting things to note: One, there are a lot of Trident-based (IE) browsers on the ballot. Fully half of the browsers there are based on Microsoft's rendering technologies. Two, not all of the browser vendors were able to provide translations of their browser descriptions. Many European browser users are comfortable with English, but I suspect being the language odd men out on the ballot will negatively impact those browsers uptake. Three, only a couple of vendors provided a "Tell me more" page with information targeted specifically at users encountering this ballot. And finally, vendors made very different decisions in how prominently their brand (as opposed to the browser brand) feature in the ballot. Google's image, for example, features their company brand much more prominently than their browser brand, while Apple's name is nowhere to be found in the Safari image.

What do you all see? Any questions?

update: A couple of people have mentioned that they don't recognize some of the tier 2 browsers. That's likely going to be a very common case for most European users. Most of the second tier browsers are generally unknown or are only known in one or two countries (outside of Europe). I was amused when I went to look up the SlimBrowser on Wikipedia that the article had been deleted "Reason given: Non-notable software near-ad." Not all of them are that bad, for example, Maxthon and Avant are pretty well known in China and Sleipnir is somewhat well known in Japan. Flock has a small but global following, and the others are genuinely rare.

But, in Europe, I don't think any of the tier 2 browsers, maybe with the exception of Flock, really have any significant penetration. For example, the tier 2 browser with the most users, Maxthon, has less than one quarter the usage in Europe as Netscape 6 (Netscape 6!!)

Posted by asa at 1:24 PM