After dropping a pretty big bomb recently with news that Microsoft’s OS market share has dropped below 90% for the first time in 15 years, Net Applications is at it again. The well known market research firm is now causing a wave of speculation with regards to a possible new OS that Google may be working on behind a big curtain at HQ. Net Applications obtains much of its data by way of software sensors placed on over 40,000 websites, constantly returning (non-sensitive) information about each and every computer that visits the site. Recently, Net Applications has been seeing a great deal of strange traffic coming from Google employees that can’t be explained by proxy servers or any other standard means of masking. Approximately one third of traffic coming from our friends at Google has had OS information deliberately concealed so that Net Applications’ software cannot identify it, while the rest of the data remains visible (IP, browser, etc).
We have never seen an OS stripped off the user agent string before. I believe you have to arrange to have that happen, it’s not something we’ve seen before with a proxy server. All I can tell you is there’s a good percentage of the people at Google showing up [at Web pages] with their OS hidden.
Ree-hee-healy? We won’t delve too far into speculation as to what we might be dealing with here but there are plenty of theories out there that make sense. The most likely candidate might be an expanded version of the Android OS as Google has been quite clear about having no intentions of confining the little green gizmo to mobile phones. Another possibility is an SaaS OS a la g.ho.st. Google has so many ways of pulling information from its users, why not just own it all? Whatever the case may be, it looks like we can expect some big news from Google in the near future and the smart money says it’s going to be sexy.