Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

What the cool kids are using

Side by Side
I don’t mention my job here much, mostly because the majority of the work that I do deals with confidential information about students and applicants. But today, for a change, I spent some time invigilating a group practical assessment for some of the science students, and the majority of students had brought their laptops with them (it’s ‘open book’, so they can use textbooks and the internet).

Whilst making sure that none of the students were cheating, it was also a chance to see what laptops and web browsers they were using.
Most students had normal sized laptops, but around a quarter had the smaller netbooks. The vast majority were running Windows Vista or 7.

Three or four (around 5%) were Macs. There were also a couple of iPads, plus various students using the internet on their smartphones.

As for web browsers, Internet Explorer stuck out as the most popular, though at least everyone was using version 7 or later. Interestingly, Google Chrome was the second most popular, with a surprisingly high number – probably 15-20% of people. Remember, these students were studying science, but not computer science. Firefox was in third place, and I saw one Opera user too. Almost everyone had multiple tabs open; some had 5 or 6.

If this is a typical sample, then it may be that I’m underestimating how popular Google Chrome has become. It’s still quite new on the scene but its growth has been huge.

(Usual disclaimer: this does not necessarily represent the views of my employer, this data was not gathered using scientific methods etc.)


  1. I’ve been an avid Firefox user for years and was running FF 4 beta 11 on my Mac until I discovered Evernote. Evernote has become absolutely indispensable in helping me organize ,save, and remember things. Unfortunately the Evernote web clip plugin doesn’t work in FF 4. So, I’m temporarily giving Chrome a whirl. I really really like it so far. Sure it doesn’t have as many plugins as FF but it certainly gives it a run for its money. Hmm, if this keeps up, I may end up not going back to FF at all. Shudder.

  2. That’s not many macs at all!
    In just my study block at college there are 19 of us, and 15 use macs (nearly 80%)