Categories: Data Policy

Measuring Search in Firefox

Today we are launching a new search data collection initiative in Firefox. This data will allow us to greatly improve the Firefox search experience while still respecting user privacy.

Search is both a fundamental method for navigating the Web and how Mozilla makes much of its revenue. Our research shows users have complicated search workflows. We know from internal user research studies that users often start a search from places like the Awesome Bar or search bar and then continue to refine their search on the search engine results page. We call these additional searches follow-on searches.

Firefox telemetry already includes a count of the searches users perform in all Firefox search bars. Firefox does not yet count follow-on searches. This is a real challenge for Mozilla, because we don’t understand how well the Firefox search experience works for our users.

A new experiment launching today will measure follow-on searches. When you search with one of the search engines that we include in Firefox, we will increment a counter for each follow-on search. Our telemetry system will count follow-on searches the same way we already count direct searches from our search bars. We won’t collect search queries (the words you type into the search box) nor any other Web browsing activity.

We will roll out the new experiment to a random sample of 10% of Firefox release users. If successful, we will extend these follow-on search measurements to our entire release population as a part of our normal telemetry system.

We seek these new measurements to gain missing insight into a crucial browser interaction. These new measurements are consistent with our data collection principles. Data helps us decide where to apply our limited resources to improve Firefox, while also safeguarding user privacy.  Mozilla will continue to provide public documentation and user controls for all telemetry collected within Firefox. With better insight into search behavior, we can improve Firefox and continue to sustain Mozilla’s mission.

Javaun Moradi,  Sr. Product Manager, Firefox Search

20 comments on “Measuring Search in Firefox”

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  1. followonsearch wrote on

    Please tell me how to disable “Follow-on Search Telemetry” Thank you. Why is this not an opt-out “feature”?


  2. A_Cappella wrote on

    followonsearch: you can use IObit uninstaller to remove plugins, including this one. However, I’m going to leave it, because it is anonymous, Firefox is free, and it’s a good web browser. And, hopefully, this will make it better.


  3. User wrote on

    Has anyone noticed a massive drop in performance? I don’t mind simply counting the no. of follow-ons but the performance impact made Firefox unusable. I finally figured out it was installed today while doing routine maintenance with CCleaner.


  4. Jean Martin Stoffel wrote on

    Firefox is more and more like any other browser. Users do not have the power over their system anymore, non-stop we are facing updates (unnecessarily delaying the start-up). Once by far my preferred borwser, I am now constantly looking for a viable alternative. Actually a single plugin is the reason why I have not switched yet. Eventually I will find one, or abandon simply the plugin out of frustration over Firefox.


  5. ratpie wrote on

    ccleaner shows they are extensions and they are on, but they are hidden in tools-extension and even turning them off from the about:config

    extensions.screenshots.system-disabled = true
    extensions.screenshots.disabled = true

    ….still shows they are on in ccleaner, what tom foolery is this firefox?

    seems like a great way for hackers to take a screenshot of what im doing?
    just like that great idea of putting all your passwords on one website that got hacked already.
    the smart people at firefox just dont have any common sense anymore.


  6. Anonymous wrote on

    FIREFOX I HOPE YOU ALL TAKE Notice of the bULL SHIT YOU ALL MOZILLA IS FORCINg on PEOPLE WHO USES YOUR ONce great bROWSER. YOU ARE Now lookinG FOR WAYS TO SPY UP PEOPLE ASSES IN covert ways.what the fuck is wronG WITH YOU ALL FUCKINg perverts???!!!!. give people a asshole bREAK Nuh .anY GOOD APP THAT Blocks lso you all mother fuckers makinG THEM OBslete.i hate fuckinG PIMPS ANd parasites that always lookinG TO OTHER PEOPLE AFFAIRS.N0w go anD HALT THIS Bull shit


  7. Bill wrote on

    Putting slimey spyware like screenshot grabbers for search $ will get you hated as much as we hate Google. We may still carry our Androids and search with the Google now, but the moment a real alternative comes up, bang, i am gone.
    Remember Alta Vista?
    How about Ma Bell or ITT?
    Please let us easily control our browsers or you will become the IE I replaced long ago with the Fox.


  8. Anonymous wrote on

    Why spend time developing and deploying automatically enabled spyware like screenshot?

    Why neglect basic specification functionality like a date input type?

    Mozilla is part of the problem.


  9. Anonymous wrote on

    hahahhaahha “Sr. Product Manager, Firefox Search”



  10. Anonymous wrote on

    it’s looks like Firefox is no more a good browser when it’s come to privacy
    really saddening 🙁

    i install this browser on so many computers (friends and family) but with these new changes i am after an alternative too, so far Brave looks promising but i need to do a bit more research to choose a replacement

    so much for ” open internet” and “non profit foundation” …. it’s a real shame


  11. Anonymous wrote on

    So sad. Brand loyalty is for suckers. Looking atalternatives.


  12. wtf wrote on

    I have updated the browser and here I am, with a pack of dubious things in it. Shield, activity stream, now this.

    Will indeed look for alternatives.


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  14. John Powell wrote on

    I see data collection for Mozilla good and it cost the user time. Would you address if and how this may impact the continuous screen lock up and serious cursor lag? Since I was automatically updated to 57 my Win10/64 (showing 32bit) has been a repeated issue of “not responding”, unresponsive screen, cursor lag.


  15. HetNeSS wrote on

    CCleaner can easily recognise the extension. You can use it to disable it, if you’re desire it so much.


  16. Private! wrote on

    WTF is this crap you’re pushing silently???? I just found it using CCleaner and I am not happy right now. You’re no better than Google and Microsoft pulling a stunt like this. Spyware?!?!? Firefox Screenshots and Follow-on Search Telemetry. FFS! You haven’t learned anything from the displeasure people have shown towards your competitors doing crap like this! I think your officers and board members really need to reassess your priorities. Seriously Mozilla! What the ever-loving BLEEP!?!?!

    Besides spying on your customers in a very sneaky fashion, it’s also killing the performance of your browser.



  17. dori wrote on

    trust , you can only loose it once…………..not a smart move those last updates


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  20. Jarbas Cabellino wrote on

    Viva Firefox thank’s muito brother!


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