A World Wide View of the World Wide Web


Kimberly Ruth
Stanford University


Alexandra Henzinger
Despite the pervasiveness of the modern web, we know surprisingly little about how people use it. In this talk, I’ll discuss two recent works aimed at understanding what web browsing looks like today, both appearing at IMC 2022. First, I’ll analyze lists of most popular websites, such as the Alexa Top Million, that are widely used in security and networking research but are not well vetted for accuracy. I’ll show that most top website lists capture web popularity poorly, with the exception of the Chrome User Experience Report dataset. Second, I’ll describe the first large-scale study of how people spend time on the web, using data from Chrome browser telemetry spanning hundreds of millions of users. I’ll explore how traffic is distributed among top websites, where people spend time on the web, and what differences we see in web browsing geographically. Finally, I’ll conclude with recommendations for how the research community can more accurately analyze the web in the future.

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