Firefox downloads highlight digital divide

The Mozilla Firefox 3 Download Day, which planned to break the Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours, amassed over 8 million downloads in 24 hours (currently standing at over 11 million).

The Firefox 3 Download Day is an interesting measurement of the true digital divide as it not only gives an indication of the number of Internet users in a country but also the technology awareness in that country.

Firefox is widely seen as a browser preferred by tech savvy users, and the hype and download surrounding this browser is therefore an interesting barometer of the number of more advanced Internet users in a country.

The United States generated the most downloads during the 24 hours with a total number in excess of 2.5 million.  It was followed by Germany with 600 000, Japan with just over 400 000 and countries like the UK, Spain, France, Canada, Italy and many others with between 200 000 and 400 000 downloads.

South Africa, in comparison, totaled under 20 000 during the 24 hours.  This in itself is not too bad, but when comparing the top African countries with other regions it becomes clear that a digital divide has developed.

The top African countries were:  South Africa – 19 000, Egypt – 6 000, Morocco – 4 600, Algeria – 3 200, Nigeria – 1 700 and Kenya – 1 300.  Other African countries all had less than 1 000 downloads.

This means the whole of Africa had significantly less downloads than Australia’s 134 000 downloads or only slightly more than New Zealand’s 21 000.  Considering that Australia has a population of 21 million while New Zealand has a mere 4.25 million highlights the lack of connectivity and tech-savviness of Africa.

Africa currently has a total population of 922 million but accounts for a less than half a percent of all the Firefox 3 downloads during this latest Download Day drive.

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Firefox downloads highlight digital divide