Quantifying the web browser ecosystem

Sela Ferdman, Einat Minkov, Ron Bekkerman, David Gefen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Contrary to the assumption that web browsers are designed to support the user, an examination of a 900,000 distinct PCs shows that web browsers comprise a complex ecosystem with millions of addons collaborating and competing with each other. It is possible for addons to "sneak in" through third party installations or to get "kicked out" by their competitors without user involvement. This study examines that ecosystem quantitatively by constructing a large-scale graph with nodes corresponding to users, addons, and words (terms) that describe addon functionality. Analyzing addon interactions at user level using the Personalized PageRank (PPR) random walk measure shows that the graph demonstrates ecological resilience. Adapting the PPR model to analyzing the browser ecosystem at the level of addon manufacturer, the study shows that some addon companies are in symbiosis and others clash with each other as shown by analyzing the behavior of 18 prominent addon manufacturers. Results may herald insight on how other evolving internet ecosystems may behave, and suggest a methodology for measuring this behavior. Specifically, applying such a methodology could transform the addon market.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0179281
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Ferdman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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