Ping attribute takes some fire

Darin Fisher implemented a new ping feature and some users hate it.

I'm sure this may raise some eye-brows among privacy conscious folks, but please know that this change is being considered with the utmost regard for user privacy. The point of this feature is to enable link tracking mechanisms commonly employed on the web to get out of the critical path and thereby reduce the time required for users to see the page they clicked on. Many websites will employ redirects to have all link clicks on their site first go back to them so they can know what you are doing and then redirect your browser to the site you thought you were going to. The net result is that you end up waiting for the redirect to occur before your browser even begins to load the site that you want to go to. This can have a significant impact on page load performance.

You can test your browser for the ping feature here. Only nightly builds of Mozilla Firefox has the feature.

January 18, 2006 06:25 PM | Posted in Mozilla


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Too bad that there are actually zero valid points against this that I've seen thus far.

Comment by Ben Basson at January 18, 2006 06:39 PM | Permalink

Only nightly builds of Mozilla Firefox has the feature.
...and SeaMonkey and Camino.
It's Gecko not Firefox.

Comment by Andrew Schultz at January 18, 2006 07:21 PM | Permalink

From reading the comments on Darin's blog, seems like only about 10% of people even read the original blog post before commenting. Cries of "spyware" and "privacy concerns" are clearly misguided.

Comment by Gavin Sharp at January 18, 2006 07:26 PM | Permalink

Giving websites easier ways to track users, including adding non-standard markup its a bad bad idea. I hope this feature never makes it into a normal release of the software, because if it does, Firefox will loose a lot of users.

Comment by Guillermo at January 19, 2006 02:49 PM | Permalink

I've enabled nightly update in channel-prefs.js and my "About Deer Park Alpha 2" reports Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9a1) Gecko/20060120 Firefox/1.6a1. I think that's the trunk, yet your ping check page says "seems that ping isn't implemented in your browser or disabled". My about:config says browser.send_pings is Status: default and Value: true.

Comment by skierpage [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 21, 2006 01:02 AM | Permalink

I retried and now your ping check page is working. Same Firefox build. Weird. Live HTTP Headers shows Firefox making the ping.php?ping=1 request as a POST without any of the Accept-* headers, just like the WhatWG spec suggests.

Comment by skierpage [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 21, 2006 11:52 PM | Permalink

I've add a check for the POST request. So if the client doesn't POST the ping request you get a warning about that.

Comment by Henrik Gemal [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 23, 2006 03:18 PM | Permalink

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