Monthly Archives: March 2009

Google and Apple propose emoji for Unicode

While not directly browser-related, this news is Japan and Unicode-related, so is tangentially interesting.

Markus Scherer, Mark Davis, Kat Momoi, Darick Tong (Google Inc.) and Yasuo Kida, Peter Edberg (Apple Inc.) are proposing to add 674 characters to the Unicode standard in order to support emoji in Unicode.

As of December 2008, there are 110.4 million cell phone users in Japan (about 87% of the population), and about 90.6% of the cell phones are 3G-enabled for internet use. Emoji are widely used, especially by people under 30. However, a June 2007 survey of 13,000 users — 80% of whom were 30 or older — found that even among this older group, 78% “often” or “sometimes” used Emoji in emails. Respondents reported using a wide variety of Emoji, including Emoji for faces, emotions, weather, vehicles and buildings, food and drink, animals, etc. Especially among younger users, email is mostly or exclusively used on cell phones instead of computers. Among cell phone users, 90% use email primarily on cell phones, and 60% use email exclusively on cell phones. Emoji have been used on Japanese cell phones for 10 years, and there is no evidence that use of Emoji is decreasing.

Proposal for Encoding Emoji Symbols

I know this data to be true and yet it’s still a stunning fact: 60% of cell phone users in Japan use email EXCLUSIVELY on cell phones and 90% of cell phone users in Japan use email PRIMARILY on cell phones. This is a stunning fact, and the key is that mobile carriers in  Japan do not support SMS. Mobile phone messaging in Japan is email.

It’s interesting to see Google and Apple cooperating here as both Google and Apple have a need with the iPhone and the Android device that’s planned to be launched by NTT DoCoMo this year for emoji support.

via What Japan Thinks.

Firefox popular in the Philippines

Jerry Liao at the InfoChat blog at CNet Asia shares with us his findings that StatCounter is reporting Firefox more popular than Internet Explorer in the Philippines.

Philippine Internet users prefer Firefox over IE – CNET Asia Blogs: InfoChat by Jerry Liao, Philippines: Worldwide, the most popular/used browser is Internet Explorer (IE) with a market share of 66.25, followed by Firefox with 26.62, Opera with 2.82, Safari with 2.66 and Chrome with 1.19.

For Asia, IE is still king with 74.45, Firefox with 21.04, Opera with 2.35, Chrome with 1.18, and Safari with 0.76.

For the Philippines, the story is different. According to StatCounter, the most popular/used browser preferred by most Filipinos is Firefox (51.44 percent), edging IE which has 41.85.


While I’m not yet comfortable with StatCounters’ data specifically (I need to better understand their methodology), these recent findings do line up with data from Ken Kovash back at the end of 2008.

Firefox Surpassing 50% Market Share in More Regions: What’s the key takeaway here?

Our market share in the regions above has been growing like crazy. For example, since our July announcement about Indonesia, we’ve seen Firefox’s share in Indonesia pick up another 7%, Slovenia 4%, Slovakia 5%, and the Philippines an astounding 13%!

It’s great to hear that Firefox is so well-loved in the Philippines. If you know of any Philippine Firefox communities, please feel free to leave a comment. Also, if there are any Philippines-based statistics services that cover browser market share (like Net Applications or AT Internet Institute (formerly xiti monitor) , please let us know about them. We’d love to know more about the Firefox users in the Philippines.

All that said, one issue that is facing Firefox users in the Philippines is that many of them (close to 20% by Ken Kovash’s count) are still using Firefox 2, which Mozilla is no longer supporting or updating. PinoyTux and Chin Wong at the Manila Standard have both been kind enough to evangelize upgrading Philippine Firefox users to Firefox 3.

Philippines: 20% are Firefox 2 Users. | PinoyTux Weblog Whatever the reason is [for not upgrading], Firefox 3 is continuously being developed and updated so users can have safer and faster browsing. I encourage users to try and switch to Firefox 3 and hopefully this time, you Firefox 3 will stay in your computer for good. I also encourage other Filipino bloggers to join in spreading the word about Firefox 3.

Manila Standard Today — Much ado about Safari 4: Last but not least, even though Firefox 3.1 is still in beta, I’ve found it fast and stable enough for everyday use—on Linux and Mac OS X. The same just can’t be said of Google Chrome or the new kid on the block, Safari 4.

Firefox 3.1 Beta feedback from Vietnam

In preparation for the upcoming release of Firefox 3.1 3.5 later this year, we have been looking for feedback from users regarding the current beta builds and specifically feedback for the new localization efforts to date.

Kevin Miller Jr., a programmer/blogger and educator in Vietnam, was kind enough to offer help by assigning his 11th and 12th grade students in his ICT class at the American International School (in Saigon, Vietnam) to review the Firefox 3.1 Beta Vietnamese builds. Note that these students are not programmers but as they go to an international school in Vietnam, they are fluent in English and are able to provide us feedback directly.

We received 33 pieces of feedback which I have aggregated into this pdf: Vietnam_feedback.pdf. I’ve taken out real names and left in nicknames.  I’ve also reformatted the text to be a little more readable.

Looking at the feedback in aggregate, a few thoughts.

A number of comments mentioned that the 3.1 Beta seemed slower than 3.0. It’s unclear if this was due to the application or the website visited or the network connectivity at that moment. We hope to follow up with Kevin’s students once the final 3.5 is released to see if the perceptions of slowness have changed.

A number of comments discussed the frustration of having to download plugins to run Flash. I think this is a common point of frustration for average users that we may want to review.

A number of comments discussed the fact that the Vietnamese interface was confusing to those who had only used English interfaces to date. Some of the comments discussed possible other translations for menu items, which can be reviewed and debated by the vi l10n team.  Some of the comments discussed the fact that the reviewer did not know the Vietnamese computer terms due to the fact that they had only used English-language software.

It is important to remember that this particular sample is of users who are fluent in English.  While probably many Internet users in Vietnam are comfortable with English, the goal for the Vietnamese Firefox localization is for those users who are not comfortable with English or who will be getting online in the near future and would prefer a localized Vietnamese interface. Unfortunately, I think this is a common issue in locales where software has been late to be localized and English interfaces have been the default.

We would like to thank Kevin and all of his students for taking the time to review the localized builds and provide this feedback.

I’ll close with a few quotes from the students.

I am not a professional user in the internet world so I do not have any ideas about other to add in features, I just feel happy to know there will be more Vietnamese can easily go online and do research in a web browser has their own language. I hope this new version in Vietnamese of Firefox will be supported strongly by a big amount of users.

Although English is common and understandable for many people right now, it is good to have a Vietnamese version so that a wide range of people can get access to this technology without knowing English. Sometimes the English used commonly on the websites are easy, but when it comes to explaining technical terms or errors, it is very hard to understand. Moreover, it is good to see Vietnamese besides other big languages.

While using Firefox 3.1 Beta, I have no trouble and feel more comfortable than using Internet Explore[r]. The majority of Vietnamese population doesn’t know much English especially people who live in rural areas or elder people or the one who received a limited education. Thus, the Vietnamese version of Firefox would be necessary and convenient for them. I think the mother-tongue version of Firefox would be not only useful in Vietnam but is also helpful in non-English speaking countries. To perfect the version, Firefox should fix the translating problems so everyone can fully understand.

All of the localizations that are in beta are looking for feedback and we appreciate all efforts to provide feedback so that our localizations can be the most accessible and understandable in each specific locale that Firefox is released in.

3D in JavaScript and Canvas

Japanese programmer and blogger, Yusuke Kawasaki, has a nice post looking at various efforts around 3D in the browser with JavaScript and Canvas since 2006: The history of JavaScript’s 3D tech development.

Before most of popular browsers start to support canvas “3d” context, we JavaScript developers have struggled how to implement to enable 3D by JavaScript without any extensions like Java, Flash, etc. Here is a part of the history of JavaScript’s 3D tech development.

Kawasaki-san also covered Satoshi Ueyama‘s recent work on 3D in JS and Canvas back in February, if you had missed it: Incredible JavaScript+Canvas 3D demos from Japan!

Ueyama-san, the programmer who made those 3D demos, is the same programmer who did those Gecko reflow videos (Japanese) that were widely blogged about and discussed at Doug Turner’s blog: What is a reflow?

EDIT: Unfortunately those reflow videos are no longer available at Google Video (grrr). I’ll see if Ueyama-san can upload them to a different video hosting site.

EDIT 2: Gecko reflow videos have been moved to Youtube thanks to Ueyama-san!

Gecko Reflow Visualization – google.co.jp

Gecko Reflow Visualization – mozilla.org

Gecko Reflow Visualization – Wikipedia

Firefox in Thailand

How is Firefox doing in Thailand?

Considering that Firefox was not localized into the Thai language until Firefox 3.0.2 in September of 2008, about half a year ago, the trends are looking good.

Firefox is solidly at 9% market share and poised to cross 10% soon if the trends hold.

IE 6 and IE7 combined still hold 86% market share in Thailand, but considering that there has been a Thai-language Firefox for less than 6 months, we should see more growth in Firefox users in Thailand throughout 2009.

Thailand Firefox usage

This is data from truehits.net, which is a Thai net statistics company that is aggregating data from Thai websites. I don’t know the details of truehits.net’s methodologies (they claim 1.1 million unique IPs, 3 million visitors and 92% of their traffic from in Thailand) or which sites they are aggregating data from, but I’m more inclined to trust a business that is in Thailand, focused on Thai users, than NetRatings or other non-Thai services that probably do not understand the market in Thailand at all.

Thai Firefox localizer and community organizer Keng is leading an effort to get a Mozilla Thailand community site up in April.  If you would like to contribute or help, please contact Keng.