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How random is Microsoft's EU browser ballot?

TechCrunch put out an interesting piece regarding Microsoft's upcoming browser ballot. The ballot will allow a user to pick their computer's default browser through a well laid out menu. While the ballot is set to begin public testing this week, many have wondered just how "random" it really is.

DSL.sk decided to test the ballot's true randomness by using the site www.browserchoice.eu (which is the most recent implementation of the actual browser ballot). They, essentially, loaded the page over and over, gathering the results into a nice little table for all to see. The probablity of each browser appearing in any of of the first five spots is shown below.

EU Browser Ballot Stats

As seen from their results, Microsoft is far from playing IE favorites. The ballot seems to favor Google Chrome in the first three spots (overwhelmingly so in the third spot). However, the tests were done using Internet Explorer 8 on a Windows 7 machine. When another browser, such as Firefox, was used for testing, TechCrunch says that the results came out much different. Perhaps this could be due to the way that each browser's rendering engine handles the algorithm. It would be interesting to test such a theory.

TechCrunch notes that just because a browser shows up in the first few spots doesn't necessarily mean it's more likely to be chosen. It really depends on many other factors, such as where a person's eyes are focusing at the time. When all is said and done, the above results aren't necessarily so relevant. However, if Google's browser market share begins skyrocketing in Europe, they should probably send Microsoft a "thank you" cake.

In other news, Mozilla claims that 77% of Brits are unaware of the upcoming browser choice ballot.

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