According to a recent study by New Relic, Internet Explorer 9 is the fastest browser on the planet, at least on Windows. Overall though, Chrome 13 on Mac, is the fastest around.
The surprising results don't end here, the study further showed that Opera Mini, running on BlackBerry, offers performance that most desktop browsers would kill for, in fact, it's faster than anything on Windows or Linux.
According to the company, it surveyed some 690,000 page views over three hours in March. Via a methodology that was not detailed, the study was able to record how fast pages loaded on people's computers and mobile devices. The results point out that the "average click" is 5.5 seconds.
The fastest though is Chrome 13, not Chrome 17, the current stable, or Chrome 19 the latest and greatest Chrome, running on Mac is the fastest since it "took just under 2.5 seconds." What took 2.5 seconds was not specified.
The study does not say what websites were tested. It also doesn't specify how "the fastest" label was determined, i.e. was the browser fast on average, or was it so fast in just one instance.
Further, it's unclear what the sample sizes were and how the researchers were able to account for the fact that a lot less people use obsolete versions of Chrome, like the Chrome 13 that was the fastest on Mac or the Chrome 5 that was the fastest on Linux, than they do current ones.
A hypothetical example: if 10 people use Chrome 5 on Linux on super-fast eight-core computers, the average page load time for them would be rather low. On the other hand, if 100,000 people use Chrome 17 on regular or even older computers, the loading speed will be a lot slower.
There are further problems with the mobile browsers. For example, Opera Mini 6.5 running on BlackBerry loaded pages in 2.6 seconds. That's blisteringly fast, as IE9, the fastest Windows browser only managed 3 seconds.
Further, Android Safari 4.0 is listed as the fourth fastest mobile browser, ahead of iPhone Safari 5.1 for example. No, you haven't missed the announcement that Google and Apple are becoming best buds all of a sudden, there is no Safari on Android. The Android browser though is based on WebKit, which is what Safari also runs on, and uses "Safari" label in its user agent.
Any company that offers services to websites, especially ones that rely on browsers in particular, knows this, of course. Still, the study shows Safari owns 92 percent of the mobile market, followed by Opera with 7 percent and Other with 1 percent.
The temptation to put out a "study" that will get the press's attention and get them talking about you is hard to resist. Still, there's probably a reason why big data researchers spend a few years getting advanced math degrees before delving into this kind of studies. Common sense also helps.