From the report, it shows that Google’s Chrome has by far the fastest upgrade time of all the browsers, generally converting users within a month of a new release. This is primarily due to the browser’s use of automatic updating which has won accolades from many people in the development community who tend to cite IE6 still breathing as a great reason for having automatic updates.
This approach has both its merits and drawbacks. The obvious positive is that a user will receive important updates immediately ensuring that they will theoretically have a safer and more stable experience. The downside is that an update could actually mess up the browser (or computer) altogether as has happened on many occasions with antivirus programs. In addition, users no longer control the experience. Having worked at Mozilla, I know that they feel strongly that the user should have the ultimate choice of what goes on their computer. And I see the same thing now at Microsoft (where I’m now employed) and even Apple, where force-fed updates aren’t part of the process. They give users and companies the flexibility to decide when upgrading is right for them which I feel is extremely important. Obviously, the downside of the latter approach is that users are less inclined to actually upgrade, thus placing us into a situation where the 10-year old IE6 is still haunting us.
This is a tough situation because while users should have control, when they don’t upgrade it stifles developer abilities to push the web forward and can put these users at risk. I’m sure that the browser makers would be interested in your thoughts. What’s your take on this?
Full Disclosure: I previously worked at Mozilla and I am now employed at Microsoft.