Pre-rendering leads to browser statistics miscount in favour of Chrome
Since version 13, Google's Chrome browser has been able to pre-load and pre-render pages to minimise potential waiting times when a user clicks on a link. However, users may never actually look at these pages – for example, because they click on a different link. According to NetApplications, the number of pre-loaded, but unread pages accounted for 4.3% of all page visits with Chrome in February 2012.
For this reason, the company has decided to change its counting method and use the Page Visibility API implemented in the WebKit browser engine, along with a modified tracking script, to exclude unviewed pages. Other browsers are not affected because they don't have a pre-rendering feature.
The resulting statistical impact is small, however: according to Net Applications' February figures, Internet Explorer continues to lead with a share of 52.84%, followed by Firefox (20.92%) and Chrome (18.9%). In December, Chrome had a share of 19.11%. It remains to be seen whether the pre-rendering feature will also impact other companies' visitor figures, for instance those that were recently released by AT Internet.