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Mozilla Labs Wants To Monitor (Volunteers') Firefox Use

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the voluntary-counts-a-lot-for-me dept.

Privacy 118

Howardd21 writes "PC World reports that Mozilla Labs wants 1% of its Firefox users to voluntarily provide information about how they use the browser, and their web browsing habits. This would be done through an add-on named "Test Pilot" that collects the information and associates it with some demographic information that the user has provided. Unlike other data collection utilities that software developers may include to provide usage information, the add-on will follow the same open source concept that Firefox adheres to, allowing the market to better understand what is being collected. Mozilla Labs stresses privacy when discussing how they will collect, store and use the data, including publishing it for other researchers to to analyze."

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118 comments

Off-Topic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591819)

Why was this article red, rather than green?

Re:Off-Topic (0, Flamebait)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592677)

for the same reason linux articles are black and askslashdot articles are grey. It falls under the YRO category. NOOB!

Re:Off-Topic (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592875)

Because it had no posts.

You ruined it though. Way to go, you ninny.

Won't happen (5, Funny)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591837)

I'm not giving them my best porn sites.

Re:Won't happen (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591875)

Honestly between google wanting my porn and now Firefox... I might as well just start putting my sites in my signature on every site and email. By 2020 all the world will know what porn sites their neighbor/friend/sister/father/mother/daughter/spouse/brother/niece/nephew/preacher/and so on, visits

Re:Won't happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592347)

By 2020 all the world will know what porn sites their neighbor/friend/sister/father/mother/daughter/spouse/brother/niece/nephew/preacher/and so on, visits

It would be interesting to, ahem, resesearch if the type of porn sites visited is genetic. Do twins enjoy similar type porn even when they have grown up in different circumstances? Does an genetic american child (with a disposition for Parton style DD cups) who has been growing up in the UK change to prefer being spanked by headmistresses? Does all scientologist children gravitate towards gay porn like travolta and cruise? Nature or nurture.

Re:Won't happen (4, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591893)

Hey, they gave you libpr0n [libpr0n.com] (safe-ish for work). The least you could do is to share some of the stuff back to them.

Re:Won't happen (2, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591899)

You'd only be giving them a hash of your best porn sites.
With so many to choose from, I think your love of horse/goat double penetration is safe.

Re:Won't happen (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592203)

You'd only be giving them a hash of your best porn sites.

Porn, hash, maybe they want me to order them a pizza too?!

Re:Won't happen (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592313)

Me too!

Re:Won't happen (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591959)

The Internet King? I wonder if he could provide faster nudity...

Tentacle porn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592435)

I'm sure they're not interested in your tentacle porn sites. Or maybe they are...

Re:Won't happen (1)

danwat1234 (942579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594961)

pornhub.com FTW!

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591839)

so red

Run out of porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591841)

What did they run out or something and need to find out where we're hiding it?

Mandatory (5, Funny)

Bocconcini (1057516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591845)

In Soviet Russia, open source monitors you!

Re:Mandatory (1)

GoodNicksAreTaken (1140859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594365)

In Soviet Russia, open source monitors you!

Can someone drag this meme out back and kill it.

Re:Mandatory (2, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594611)

No. In Soviet Russia, memes kill you.

Re:Mandatory (1)

Aitherion (1455605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596557)

The hell did this get modded 'Insightful'?

round 1 (2, Funny)

ani23 (899493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591883)

Mozilla Labs Wants To Monitor (Volunteers') Firefox Use VS Microsoft Wants To Monitor (Volunteers') IE Use Fight

Re:round 1 (3, Funny)

ani23 (899493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26591913)

now with line breaks
Mozilla Labs Wants To Monitor (Volunteers') Firefox Use
VS
Microsoft Wants To Monitor (Volunteers') IE Use.
Fight

4Chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591885)

Maybe they'll make displaying it not suck...?

Re:4Chan (1)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592219)

Maybe they'll make displaying it not suck...?

First of all, I believe that bug was fixed a while ago. I'm running 3.0.5, and it displays fine.

Second, no, they're not going to record what sites people visit. They're planning to keep hashes of the sites to determine how many times you visit the same place. So no, if your favorite site has a bug, installing Test Pilot and visiting that site 500 times isn't going to do anything but skew their results.

Re:4Chan (2, Funny)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592515)

It's a browser, not a miracle worker ;)

At least they are asking for volunteers... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591983)

instead of just adding it to the base code.

Re:At least they are asking for volunteers... (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593627)

Exactly... And honestly, when they do it this way, and share the results I wouldn't mind to donate a bit of my internet browsing habits for research... :)
But 1% of all firefox users that's pretty ambitious...

Re:At least they are asking for volunteers... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595153)

I'd already be surprised if 1% of FF users used any plugins at all...

Re:At least they are asking for volunteers... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594665)

Well, why have a plugin system if you aren't going to use it?
Frankly, I wish they would rip out RSS, spell check, tabs... nearly everything... and make plugins (and include a collection in the default install).

Re:At least they are asking for volunteers... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594835)

Doesn't multiple applications inform that they will collect the information? I don't see why this need the "goodluckwiththat", I'd gladly give Mozilla all my usage information, same for Opera and Safari if Apple wanted it.

I don't have much to hide and I doubt they do anything with my specific data anyway.

Off-topic rant: Thinking about uninstalling Flash and live without all the videos. It would be so nice without that piece of crap (Flash, not the videos :()

Re:At least they are asking for volunteers... (1)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594937)

Speaking of tags, should this be tagged 'bigbrother' or something more appropriate like 'middlebrother' or 'littlebrother?'

Re:At least they are asking for volunteers... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595159)

How about "big friend"?

Q: As in the old Soviet times jokes "The Russians were our friends, now they are our brothers, why is that so?"
A: Because you can choose your friends, but not your family.

Self-selection will skew results (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26591999)

"This is very odd... all of users primarily visit technology sites, and, uh, porn."

Re:Self-selection will skew results (4, Funny)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592937)

Well, this obviously means they should make more technology porn sites.

They better share this important info immediately!

Re:Self-selection will skew results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26593123)

That's a great idea. An in-depth article on virtualization, a masters-level tutorial on gtk+ optimization, and a 10-page nude pictorial of "The Girls of Google's Data Centers." I'd buy that for a dollar.

Re:Self-selection will skew results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26593925)

Check out those racks!

Re:Self-selection will skew results (1)

eat here_get gas (907110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594159)

...and stack overflow!

Re:Self-selection will skew results (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595085)

That idea's as old as the sexy librarian itself.

This theme is the color of Barney Fwank's dick... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594503)

after a night out on the town.

I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (4, Informative)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592109)

The data collection mechanism is internally called âoeService Quality Monitoringâ, or just SQM. It was introduced in Office 2003, and presents itself to the user as âoeCustomer Experience Improvement Programâ (CEIP), or you might also see it under the heading of âoeHelp Make Office Betterâ. . . .What did Microsoft do with the data? It turns out, a lot. The data combined with human judgment was the basis for the placement of all commands on the Ribbon. The Home tab in all programs is a great example of the statistics at work. The commands on the Home tab represent the 80% most used commands of that particular application.

From: here [pierrepoulain.free.fr]

"One difference between Firefox 2.0 and Firefox 3.0 is that the Back button grew in size," Raskin said. "Why did it change? Because we found that people used the Back button much more than the Forward button."

I hope this information about most used features isn't going to be used to develop a Mozilla ribbon.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (2, Informative)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592289)

Additional info from Mozilla

Overview of Test Pilot We can provide a much more satisfying experience all around by putting in place some basic infrastructure. Here's the idea: * We develop and promote a formal Test Pilot program with a Firefox add-on at its core.
* The first time the Test Pilot add-on is run, it asks a few simple non-personally-identifiable questions in order to put the user into a demographic bucket, e.g. technical level, locale, etc., and to let them opt in to additional anonymous instrumentation.
* Test Pilot will then notify its users when a new experiment is available for testing. If the user opts in, it will download the required software (if any) and load any information required to get started with the new experiment, e.g. overview, use cases, etc.
* After either a specified amount of time or upon completion of a specific action, Test Pilot will prompt the user for feedback. The feedback form will only ask a few questions selected from a much larger set. A link will be provided to provided more comprehensive unstructured feedback or bug reports.
* The set of questions posed for feedback will be randomly distributed within each demographic bucket to ensure statistical significance of the results.
* Anonymized aggregate results and analysis will then be posted automatically to the Test Pilot site.
* * All participants will receive a "flight badge" displayed in their Test Pilot profile and available to embed on blogs, social networks, etc.
The idea is that by reducing the amount of required feedback to only a few clicks we can increase overall rates of participation.

If they give me a physical flight badge to wear on my hat, I might do it.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (3, Insightful)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592297)

I hope this information about most used features isn't going to be used to develop a Mozilla ribbon.

Sure, discounting the fact that the ribbon was probably the best UI design MS has ever created. (The only people who might dislike it are those who have learned the intricacies of the Office menu structure and they still have the option to switch back.) If Mozilla can come up with something as good as the Ribbon from this, I'd say it's a good thing

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592429)

Mozilla can have this idea for a "fast-forward" thumbnail button - all tabs included, and/or just history and/or by category: I declare this idea PD (Public Domain). Unless Apple's already done it.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592557)

oops - rewind. And spanning sessions. PD.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (2, Insightful)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592651)

Is there any consensus or are there usability-studies that support your claim that the ribbon is great?

(I have no opinion on it. I'm just curious. I haven't seen either yet.)

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593353)

When I first saw the "Ribbon", I thought it was more of Firefox Tabs with a text editor at the bottom.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594709)

The difference being that Firefox's tabs are useful.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595601)

Yeah. I learned that too after using it.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593489)

The real issue is that it's about time to decouple app code and UI code. Why should our "command area," e.g. menu bar vs ribbon vs keyboard vs voice etc., be solely dictated by the apps we use?

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595163)

The real issue is that it's about time to decouple app code and UI code. Why should our "command area," e.g. menu bar vs ribbon vs keyboard vs voice etc., be solely dictated by the apps we use?

In order to standardize the UI for training reasons. Just because /.s audience is tech-savvy doesn't mean that everyone is.

Strangely, this is also the largest complaint about Office 2007: Microsoft moved everything and now no one can find anything.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593569)

Is there any consensus or are there usability-studies that support your claim that the ribbon is great?

The ribbon has it's strengths but it's not applicable to all type of apps. Unless you have an oddly configured browser you'll have about 8 interface elements (buttons, address bar, favorites) + the menu and status bar and perhaps a bookmarks toolbar (anyone use that?). Not enough elements to make ribbon an advantage.

One way of thinking of the ribbon is as a menu that sticks open when you press it, so that you won't need to open it repeatedly - assuming the ribbon has the functions you want on that "menu".

A study on the matter would be cool though.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26596827)

bookmarks toolbar (anyone use that?)

fuck no

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (2, Insightful)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594791)

The only people who might dislike it are those who have learned the intricacies of the Office menu structure

Sorry, but no, I don't know the intricacies of either, I hate the ribbon because without fucking *words* I don't know what a button does.

Re:I hope they aren't planing to follow M$ office (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593315)

I had to turn off SQM, it was causing Windows Installer to crash on Windows 7 when I tried to install UpdateStar. Didn't even get far enough to log anything, but thankfully Process Monitor helped me figure it out.

So apparently the Service Quality Monitoring is degrading the service quality, and then monitoring it. I don't think that's very useful, personally.

Anonymous coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592121)

This is ridiculous - how I use the browser? Are they for real?
I use it to get information off the internets - type in an address, and get to look at a web page.

They should spend their efforts elsewhere.

Re:Anonymous coward (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593697)

I agree (mostly). Most of the interesting interaction in a web browser happens according to the design of the *web site* not the browser. There really isn't a lot in the browser that can be changed - enter URL, back/forward, bookmarks.

It seems a bit like the shareware author who's written a text editor, and since the basic functions were completed years ago he's now adding file management, compiling support, image viewer...

Re:Anonymous coward (2, Interesting)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596357)

How many tabs you have open? How often you use back button? Do you save tabs? How often you restart your browser? etc. This information can be used to optimize Firefox for YOUR needs. Assuming you belong to the majority.

How about add needed features instead? (4, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592125)

How about making it possible to update Firefox in a business environment without administrative rights? Maybe allow admins to push the browser and patches?

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592317)

New features? What a brilliant idea!

If only there were some way for them to determine what usage scenarios are most common, and what browsing patterns most in need of optimization... so that they could then implement the features that are most needed...

Maybe they should collect usage statistics or something...

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593711)

How the heck are you going to find that "administrators need to update Firefox automatically" from daily usage statistics?

Sorry, but these stats will only be useful for certain small parts of the browser. Most of the browser goes into creating a platform - HTML, scripting, add-ins etc.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (2, Informative)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592473)

Absolutely. I would love firefox to be a viable browser in the workplace, but it simply isn't given the way settings are stored alone, nevermind the inability to patch and update.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595569)

Wait... the way settings are stored? In user profiles? How is that not MORE helpful for centralized operations?

Besides, patch and update? Just replace the damn executable. It's not hard.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592819)

I'd like to see extensions/addons actually get signed, so that we could then have a central repository into which users could download extensions, and then other users could get the updates that were downloaded by them. I'm in the digital ghetto (which is to say, dialup on copper formerly owned by pacific bell) and having to download all the extension updates twice is, while not impossible, definitely arduous. (and silly)

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594795)

When you are on Mozilla's plugin page about to click that shiny "Add to Firefox" button, try right-clicking and selecting "Save link As..."
Stick the .xpi on a network share and open it with Firefox on all machines you want to update.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (3, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593029)

And allow admins to control stuff like configuration, homepage, etc. Where I work, they modified firefox from source to allow some of these things. Supposingly tried to contact the team (big, big, big company) and they didn't even want to talk, so we did it on our own. Works fine, but (amusingly enough), IE is used as the primary browser just because we have can have our way with it, on a global scale, while Firefox, we need to play with the source to get it to do what we need, and while we actually DO that, its a pain in the ass.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594265)

We had the same experience -- my employer (government agency) contacted several people at Mozilla (and were willing to pay a good sum), and were rebuffed in a pretty obnoxious way.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594471)

Indeed. A little birdy told me (very indirectly, so this isn't worth much) that Google was a lot more interested in such talk...so we may very well see "Chrome Enterprise" way before Firefox become enterprise ready.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595235)

...so we may very well see "Chrome Enterprise" way before Firefox become enterprise ready.

...and after that, Chrome for Starships!

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595361)

That was corny as hell, but your sig is a redeeming factor.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593373)

Make the Firefox app folder user-writable, certainty that would be all that's needed?

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593407)

Stupid spell check. Stupid me for not checking spell check. *certainly

Re:How about add needed features instead? (2, Informative)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594327)

That would allow users to install automatic updates, but would open up the computers for massive ownage by zero-day threats.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595075)

That would allow users to install automatic updates, but would open up the computers for massive ownage by zero-day threats. So if I were to install firefox into the my documents folder instead of the default program files folder, that would open up the computers for "massive ownage by zero-day threats"? I'm curious how exactly you think this would work. At worst case I suppose firefox itself could be overwritten by something malicious, since its in a user writable folder, but pragmatically, that's a pretty limited risk. Virtually all malware out there subverts browsers by altering their configuration and settings, installing add-ons, and injecting themselves as proxies... I can't recall the last time the actual browser executable was tampered with... so sure, it would be an added risk, but hardly likely to bring about the end of the world.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593493)

Well perhaps they are gathering this information to try and determine what their users most commonly do, so that they can be more focused with new features. That seems like it is a positive to me.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26593529)

I don't get what you mean by "without administrative rights". Are you saying that you let unprivileged users install and update apps on the computers in your business environment? I doubt it. Anyway, it's easy to update Firefox in the enterprise if you've got even an ounce of real sysadmin acumen (learn to script you MCSE bitches!). Or, if you gotta have the point-n-clickey, then use a software deployment app like Wise Package Studio [wise.com] . Sheesh, it ain't that fucking hard.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (1)

txsable (169665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593547)

Not my project but a friend of mine works on the FrontMotion Firefox Community Edition [frontmotion.com] project:

"FrontMotion Firefox Community Edition is a customized version of Firefox with the ability to lockdown settings through Active Directory using Administrative Templates. Similar to lockdown settings with mozilla.cfg on one computer, you can now use Administrative Templates to enforce settings across your organization. Use Firefox on your corporate computers to decrease virus incidents and increase overall security. Save time and frustration with our installer that is targeted toward the corporate IT administrator with manageability and upgradeability in mind."

I've never used it but it's sure something I'm considering testing for my network environment.

Re:How about add needed features instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26593981)

What about Portable Firefox? Works fine for me.

Who would volunteer? (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592131)

Seriously for a sec -- what kind of person would volunteer for something like this? And would that person really represent the average user?

Re:Who would volunteer? (1)

IceFox (18179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592511)

Every time you visit any website you tell them exactly what you are doing. What pages you go to, what links you click on and even what link brought you to this site. Using javascript they can even see where you mouse goes on every page. They have a complete log of every page you visited on their site. Scared? What user indeed.

Re:Who would volunteer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592895)

Who wouldn't? How many average internet users would give a shit about some non-profit receiving anonymous usage statistics? How many would give a shit about a for-profit receiving anonymous usage statistics? How many are already sending out identifiable usage statistics through their malware-ridden PC's and already don't give a shit? Not everyone is using the internet to look for child porn, you know?

As for representing the average user or not - who cares? The users who contribute are empowered. Those who don't are not. It's open source, not retardware.

Where "volunteer" equals (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592233)

Not read the EULA thoroughly upon installation?

Re:Where "volunteer" equals (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592583)

My copy of firefox didn't come with a EULA you piece of FUD.

Bias (2, Insightful)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592253)

Apologies to MrEricSir, as he posted on this sort of but I wanted to write my own opinion.

This is textbook sampling bias. It's just now getting to the point that the "average user" might be someone who is even using FireFox. There is no way the people that install this addon and submit their usage to Mozilla will be representative of anything useful at all.

Unfortunately, to get the "average user", Mozilla probably need run some "punch the monkey" banners on MySpace - offering people a free iPod and a trip to a tropical destination, in exchange for installing this addon. Maybe they can use some of their Googlefortune.

Re:Bias (2, Insightful)

Artraze (600366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592355)

On the other hand, why would they even want "average user" over "average Firefox user"? I can understand that the former may have value in as far a switching users to Firefox, but on the other hand most people don't switch because IE is good enough and already installed. No matter how much touts improvements in whatever, they aren't going to convince these people. Mozilla is best off improving their experience for existing uses so that they: a) don't switch away, and b) install FF on their friends computers. Thus, "average Firefox user" really has more value to them anyway.

Re:Bias (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592419)

This is an interesting point. I guess it just depends on what their goals are.

The way I parsed the summary (this is /.), they were looking to figure out how people "use the internet", in loose terms.

Anyway, good call. We'll see.

Re:Bias (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593779)

Or more sensibly, simply go and find real physical people, randomly selected, to come into their offices... you know... like real user tests...

Re:Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26596329)

Most people like privacy while they're browsing their porn.

I would volunteer and good on them ! (3, Informative)

johnjones (14274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592285)

first thing is testing and the best thing is feedback

yes crash reporter's help but the best thing is real feedback about what actually is stressing the engine

are javascript functions that rarely get used the best use of the engineers time ?
knowing what is going on and what really stress's the engines is profiling
Profiling is a good thing
Hard to do right without actually asking real users to do it

I welcome the fact they actually doing it themselves and building it out in a open way !

regards

John Jones

Better yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26592375)

I have a better idea, why don't the people at Mozilla work on making Firefox not suck anymore?

The last release has had TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE performance.

Just offer some money and you're fine (1)

bratgitarre (862529) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592803)

Just offer a small compensation from the multi-million dollar Mozilla Foundation budget [mozilla.org] and people will volunteer. As Schneier said [theatlantic.com] , "If McDonald's offered a free Big Mac for a DNA sample, there would be lines around the block."

Sure (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26592891)

The large reptile can have my data. No problem with that at all.

FUD (1)

john.picard (1440397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593025)

I can see it now. Journalists unfamiliar with this will write articles discussing Firefox, and among the other "facts" they'll get wrong, they'll note that Firefox sends all your browsing information to its maker. There will be an entire campaign of FUD around this. Maybe they should have released the same exact code under a separate name like Volunteerfox. Volunteerfox will send info about your browsing habits but Firefox will not. Then all the FUD in the world about Volunteerfox won't hurt Firefox.

Stupid statistics (3, Insightful)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593139)

Conclusion: 100% of our users aren't at all concerned about their privacy (based on our 1% voluntary sample size). -Mozilla Labs

Re:Stupid statistics (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593387)

Ah, but the fact that only N% of their user base opted to install the extension is a statistic in and of itself and would be factored in to any conclusions.

Re:Stupid statistics (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595197)

You won't get far in the field of statistics if you don't know how to choose your sample to get the desired results...

Why is this news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26593291)

You are just describing a feedback program...

This is insulting, it's like just posting because there's nothing to post...

Why? They already have reams of feedback (5, Interesting)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26593799)

Users have submitted thousands of bugs, and then voted on them.
Yet those votes don't get acted on. Mozilla fixes bugs or adds features when "something else" tells them they should - often, what's cool for developers or what some big company wants.

Why would they pay attention to the statistics generated by this program when they don't pay attention to the much more focussed statistics already in Bugzilla?

Re:Why? They already have reams of feedback (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595127)

Perhaps due to the sample bias issue other posters have pointed out. If the average user is unlikely to volunteer for such a monitoring, what are the chances he'll actually go to the bugzilla and submit a bug about something he wants done?

The best example of that is the AwesomeBar, with dozens of people asking for its removal on bugzilla et al, yet how many normal, non-techy people have you met which actively dislike it? for me it's zero and I know plenty of normal Firefox users.

Re:Why? They already have reams of feedback (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596439)

True, there is massive bias.
However, they are not going to find out about bugs (in most cases) from usage statistics, so the two things are separate. Bugzilla is the best/only way they have to collect bugs, and they are mostly ignoring the votes in there, so it seems likely they would ignore the user feedback as well (except where they are already interested in an issue).

Corporate Firefox Culture (1)

Tarmus (1410207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595069)

This sort of thing is exactly what's driving the best volunteer people away from the Mozilla Project.
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