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Mozilla’s State of the Internet Report on Firefox

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With over 350 million users of its open source Firefox Web browser worldwide, Mozilla is a group that has some insight into the state of the Internet, topic explored in some depth in its new report issued this week.

The Q1 2010 Mozilla State of the Internet report sheds light on both the adoption and usage of Firefox globally. The data in the report is a combination of both Mozilla’s own stats as well as leveraging data from StatCounter, Quantcast, Net Applications, and Gemius for global market share. Averaging all the reported global browser share data sets, Mozilla has determined that Firefox has a global market share of 30 percent.

Surprisingly on a global basis, Firefox’s share is lowest in North America at approximately 26 percent, though the total number of users is still relatively large at 100 million. Firefox’s share is greatest in Antarctica at 80 percent though that’s the smallest browser market on Earth.

Firefox is enjoying its greatest success in Europe with 39.2 percent market share which represents 152.7 million people. On a share basis, South America is second at 31.4 percent or 31.7 million. Following them is Africa at 29.7 percent (5.6 million users), Oceania 28.7 percent (6.7 million users) and Asia with 26.6 percent (68.7 million users).

Different parts of the world are growing their Firefox usage at different rates. According to Mozilla’s own data, Firefox usage in Russia rose by 20 percent over the last quarter. Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Australia, Mexico, and Turkey all showed strong growth as well rising 15 percent.

New Yorkers DO Sleep

While the saying goes that New York is the city that never sleeps, Mozilla’s study found that Firefox users in New York state started their browser later in the morning than people in other parts of the U.S.

The earliest starts to the day were reported in Hawaii, Wyoming, and Maine. How Mozilla determined which state started their day was based on when Firefox browsers send an update ping to Mozilla. The Firefox browser checks on startup to see if a newer version of the browser and its add-ons is available for download.

“We took a week’s worth of data and broke it down by hour and by state,” Mozilla stated in its report. “We then compared the distribution of pings, i.e., do some states see a relatively higher proportion of people launching Firefox during the 7am hour vs. the 10am hour?”

Startup usage of Firefox in New York peaks around 10 AM. In contrast users in Hawaii are likely to start their browser between 6 and 8 am.

Mozilla’s State of the Internet report also includes some results from its Test Pilot initiative which is an opt-in data gathering effort. One interesting statistical tidbit shared by Mozilla from that effort in the new report is about how browser tabs are used.

Crazy for browser tabs

“We found that the typical user has between 2 and 3 tabs open at any one time,” Mozilla stated. “And what was the maximum? Over 600 tabs!”

The State of the Internet study is the second Mozilla research report in recent months. In March, Mozilla released a developer usage report.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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