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Getting a little technical here – What Exactly Is A Chrome Web Store User?

Actual discussion URL – http://groups.google.com/a/chromium.org/group/chromium-apps/browse_thread/thread/efe2ae867f0cdf67/25bc7ed997558e6d?lnk=gst&q=count&fwc=1#

Raw transcript –

At the web store App download data, and also user data, is tallied.

Does anyone have any idea where the user data comes from.  I can see
download data readily available to Google.  However, if I choose to
install, how does Google know about this?

At the point of time of install – isn’t it just between me and the 3rd
party app?

Interesting question for me at this point in time.

At point of install, the browser downloads a CRX file from the store. The
web store itself keeps track of how many people have installed each app.

You can also integrate Google Analytics in your landing page (via the
Developer Dashboard) as well as your app.

So I guess the following reporting takes place.

Download
b)  Install lights up CRX which reports to store on install – thus
download turns to user.
c)  If software not used for XX:XX of time – is user considered no
longer a user?
d)  If app is removed, does CRX report back – no longer user?
e)  Does the store conduct a outreach to all apps looking for a return
– thus still a user?

I guess the simplest cycle is CRX reports it is being used – User –
that’s it.

If that’s the case, the user base will never decline…. correct?

I believe installs equal to downloads.
Users equal to update checks from the browser.

Install is weekly. Don’t know if the number is a moving window – ie
resets each day based on last 7 days. Thus, it could become lower.

User is weekly. Don’t know if the number is a moving window by day.
Don’t know if this is dependent on app clicks or simply not
uninstalled. If uninstalled, the user count becomes lower.

What’s missing is a total, cumulative install number – which would
never decline.

This unusual system is similar to Facebook apps – and their buggy
reporting system. The Android Marketplaces also has a counter that is
buggy. The only reliable number seems to be Google Checkout. 😉
Thus, don’t read too much into these early numbers.

Hope that helps.

Update checks report back to Store and count as a user.

That’s an interesting thought but the Store is going to stay in the
loop between 3rd party apps and the user?

User counts are based on the update pings to the
WebStore – you have to remember that each of these apps/extensions each
check the store to see if there are updates, this is where the user count
comes from.

a)  Download is recorded in Chrome Web Store data table
b)  Upon initialization, Web Store is notified – User is counted.
c)  Upon upgrade or upgrade checks User is re-confirmed as being a
User.
d)  Assumption – if user does not upgrade, after certain period of
time User is no longer considered a User.
*** Is this correct?  If so we should see a decline in some User bases
somewhere.  Currently I haven’t witnessed a decline.

Further, if the above scenario is accurate, we must assume any apps
that are downloaded outside the Chrome Web Store eventually check in
with the Web Store for updates?
*** Is this correct?

I think you are unlikely to notice a decline, if a user has your app
installed Chrome will be performing update checks at regular intervals so
the users count is always fresh.

Apps that are downloaded outside of the store will have an update_url of
something that is not the Chrome Webstore and therefore will not be included
in the count as Chrome will use the update_url[1] in the manifest to check
for updates, *unless* the public key is the same as the Web store listing *
AND* the update_url is the webstore, which is a valid technique to migrate
an app from your servers to the webstore.

Just to clarify, apps and extensions with an update_url of the webstore
will regularly check the webstore for updates.  If the update_url doesn’t
exist, then Chrome will not check for any updates, if the update_url is your
server, then Chrome will *only* *check your* server for updates for that
app.

[1] http://code.google.com/chrome/extensions/autoupdate.html – this has a
lot of information about how apps and extensions auto update.

Seems like it’s all up to the update url.

a)  If update url is WebStore, will go to user count.
b)  If update is other, or nothing, will not go to user count.

Can one make the following assumptions?

1)  Every update essentially tallies how many updates are made and
thus a ‘user’ sum is given?
2)  The Chrome Store does not have a table of hardware ids (or some
other user id)  that follow the life of an app.

For example I download App A from the store.  The download is simply
counted.  The app update is counted.  All updates are tallied and
assumed to be users.

The update is not married to a user identifier anywhere – a app
customer table of all active and former app users?

Finally –  if an App is removed, or the update_url is changed from the
Web Store – would that not result in a decline of the user tally?

If a user uninstalls the app then there will be no more update pings, so the
users tally should drop.  You are unable to change the update_url once the
app is in the webstore because when you upload your application we append
the webstore update_url into the manifest automagically.

It’s safe to say that Web Store does not contain a data store of app/
user info.

Simply tallies taking place.

Useful Information

Getting a little technical here –  What Exactly Is A Chrome Web Store User?
Posted Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

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