Data collection service added to Firefox

Darin Fisher just landed the data collection service on the trunk of the Mozilla code.

The data collection service is used to gather browser metrics. This provides a way to learn more about how users use the Mozilla Firefox browser. Often times, we end up making guesses about usage patterns or typical system constraints. The data collection service can collect data from live instances of Firefox and analyze that to improve the product. This service is disabled by default in release builds. Users will be given the choice to enable this feature "to help make Firefox better" or something along those lines. The collected data is uploaded a collection server periodically and local copy flushed.

Read more about Browser Metrics at the wiki or in the bug report.

March 07, 2006 11:32 AM | Posted in Mozilla


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I think setting to "disabled" by default wont give results from "common users"

Comment by mark o at March 7, 2006 01:30 PM | Permalink

Having it set to anything else would provoke the tinfoil hat brigade.

Comment by Ben Basson at March 7, 2006 03:00 PM | Permalink

Perhaps if you asked 1 in 10 users where they were using Firefox, if they mainly use this installed version at work then they could be asked if they'd mind turning the feedback on.

It'd be useful. The first thing I do on my installed version is add the 'new tab' button. Why isn't this on the toolbar by default?! Crazy.


Comment by monk.e.boy at March 7, 2006 03:07 PM | Permalink

This is a tricky privacy issue. Users are concerned about software that "phones home" for any reason, and rightly so. User tracking is often abused, and the Mozilla developers should set a good example here.

Comment by ADAXL at March 8, 2006 10:22 AM | Permalink

To call anyone who is concerned about privacy a member of the "tinfoil hat brigade" really upsets me. It is not Mozilla's business at all how, where and when I use their browser. Or do you want to give "Free Software" a whole new meaning?

Comment by Christian V. at March 8, 2006 12:09 PM | Permalink

Collecting anonymous data is hardly infringing on anyone's privacy, especially if (as I would expect) it pertains to things like "User clicked the Home button", "User opened a tab via the File menu", etc.

Firefox telling MoCo what websites you're visiting is another story, but then again, I can't see why they'd have any use for such information and I sincerely doubt that they'd ever try and obtain it.

Anyway, I'm not saying that there are zero valid critisisms of such data collection, but I don't see why anyone but the tinfoil hat brigade is going to object to this on principle rather than details.

Comment by Ben Basson at March 9, 2006 10:05 PM | Permalink

I think FF is crap to begin with and ading this COLLECTION SERVICE is totally disgusting!!!

What are they in bed with Microsoft now?? (IE7 sends every url to MS for review)

Screw that!!!!!! They are just trying to invade everyones lives!!!!!!!

Comment by John at March 11, 2006 12:31 AM | Permalink

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