Analyze Your Search Behavior

Ed Lee


With Prospector, we are interested in improving searches in the browser including those searches that you make through websites. To better understand how people do various types of searches, we have put together a new experiment to help you report back with your findings.

This experiment is slightly different from our previous experiments like Speak Words or Find Suggest. It is more of a study where you can take a look at your own data and come up with your own ideas of how searches can be improved.

Installing this add-on will cause a tab to open immediately for you to see previous web searches as well as the links that you have clicked from the search result. None of your data is sent to Mozilla, but it would help us a lot if you provide comments in this post of any interesting patterns you might notice in your own data.

This initial version is also very basic, so there is practically no prettying-up of the interface or results. As shown above, there are several boxes for you to configure how much data will be analyzed. It will automatically run when it first shows up, so please wait a little bit for it to crunch through your data. Below are some results from my own searches and some basic analysis:

The “investment vs payoff” search shows that several pages were visited from the search result. This reflects that I was trying to investigate which option was better in what scenarios, so I wanted a wide selection of view points.

Here I searched for “gmail” in Bugzilla, and the results show that I clicked through a number of links. I have made a trail with each click and perhaps Firefox should remember that I was searching for “gmail” and show me the final bug for the next time.

I do not hack on too much HTML these days, but for this add-on I needed to dynamically add search results into the page. But I forgot that “insertafter” does not exist, and I actually want insertBefore. So similar to the previous example, Firefox could potentially link these two terms together, and in the future, it can jump me straight to the correct word.

If you want to analyze your own search behavior, install Query Stats 2 on a Firefox 4 Beta. This add-on does not require a Firefox restart, and it will automatically disable itself after running (so if you want to run it again, open up the Add-ons Manager about:addons and re-enable it.) As usual, the code is available on GitHub. And remember to post any interesting findings!