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Three out of four people connect to the Internet by using applications that aren't Web browsers, according to a survey released Tuesday by Net ranking firm Nielsen/NetRatings.
The trend, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, is one that continues to blur the lines between what's on a user's desktop, and what's not--coming instead over pipes from the Internet.
"With 76% of Web surfers using Internet applications, functionality has grown beyond the browser to become a fundamental piece of the overall desktop," Abha Bhagat, a senior analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, said in a statement. "It's become harder to distinguish when you're on the Internet."
The top five applications used to connect to the Web are a collection of the most popular instant messengers and the two most prominent media players, said the survey, which was conducted in November.
Windows Media Player leads the pack, with 34% of the users polled claiming they use Microsoft's player utility to access the Internet. AOL's Instant Messenger came in second, at 20%, while Real Network's RealPlayer, Microsoft's MSN Messenger, and Yahoo's instant messenger client round out the list.
In other findings from Nielsen/NetRatings' monthly report on Web usage, the audience-ranking firm noted that the number of people accessing the Internet in November 2003, was up 11% over the same month last year.