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Finding Firefox's First World Record

Mozilla hopes to set a Guinness World Record for most software downloaded in a day with the launch of Firefox 3, but finding the current record-holder wasn't that easy.

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A big part of the Firefox 3 marketing push is centered around Download Day. The mission of SpreadFirefox.com -- the site where potential users can pledge their support to download Firefox 3 -- is to set a Guinness World Record for highest number of software downloads in a single day.

At press time, there are over 1.16 million people who have signed up on the site to download the browser the day it is released. The United States is leading the charge with over 191,000 pledges. In something of a surprise, Poland and Brazil are neck and neck for the second most pledge with over 81,000 and over 79,000 pledged respectively.

Still, over 1.1 million people: It's a number that seems pretty staggering for anything that isn't the rating of the NBA Finals or the season finale of 'Lost.' It seemed like a logical question should be asked: What is the current Guinness World Record for most software downloaded in a single day?

The answer wasn't quite as easy to track down as you might expect. Surfing over the Guinness World Record homepage, I was expecting to do a quick search and get an easy answer.

It wasn't quite that simple and now, I'm proud to say, I'm officially a registered member of the site and will begin receiving regular updates on other World Record attempts.

But I was in, and that was the important part. I had to resist the urge to check on things like who the youngest person in the world is to wear dentures -- it's Daniel Sanchez-Ruis at 3 years and 301 days, incidentally.

A search on the site yielded no results, but I still wanted to play in the mix so I kicked it up a notch. That means now I'm also a proud member of the press mailing list with the Guinness World Records Website.

Still, no result for the category most software downloaded in a day. After a few more minutes of playing around on the Media Zone page, I was given the option to text a question to the 'Texperts' at Guinness. The service promised a turnaround of two minutes and would only cost 1 UK pound. That translates to something like $74 and is only available in the UK, so I took a pass.

Luckily, I found a note on the site for 'urgent requests.' I gave it a shot, and it only took two days for Jamie Panas, a press and marketing assistant with Guinness World Records, to get back to me.

Here's the e-mail in its entirety:

"Thank you for your inquiry to Guinness World Records. We do not have a current record for this category. Mozilla would be the first to attempt such a feat and potentially get validated by Guinness World Records."

So there it is. Firefox 3 could very well be one of the more innovative Web browsers we've seen in the past few years. And Mozilla is adding to that idea of innovation by throwing something at Guinness that they've never seen: a software download category.

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