Ars reports a study from browser maker Opera that suggests only 4.13% of the 3.5 million pages indexed were found to be standards-compliant.

Some interesting points:

  • Adobe Flash is used on about 35% of indexed sites worldwide, with China leading the pack at 67% penetration
  • Ajax (measured by the use of XMLHttpRequest) is used in 3.2% of indexed sites worldwide, with Norway leading the pack at 10% penetration
  • Only 50% of indexed sites that display the W3C validation badge were actually using valid HTML (anymore)

The really cool thing is that Opera is going to build a search engine on top of the data from this ongoing study. Users (web developers or vendors) will be able to search for data before making product or application related decisions. For example, Opera’s data could answer the question: “how prevalent is Silverlight use in India?”. This is exactly the type of fact-based information that we’d all want to know before building a web app for the Indian market.

Kudos to the Opera team for driving this research and the follow-on search capabilities. It is somewhat surprising that Google, Yahoo or Microsoft hasn’t done this already.