Two years ago, we released the Firefox Hardware Report to share with the public the state of desktop hardware. Whether you’re a web developer deciding what hardware settings to test against or someone just interested in CPUs and GPUs, we wanted to provide a public resource to show exactly what technologies are running in the wild.
This year, we’re continuing the tradition by releasing the Firefox Public Data Report. This report expands on the hardware report by adding data on how Firefox desktop users are using the browser and the web. Ever wanted to know the effect of Spring Festival on internet use in China? (it goes down.) What add-on is most popular this week in Russia? (it’s Визуальные закладки.) What country averages the most browser use per day? (Americans, with about 6 to 6.5 hours of use a day.) In total there are 10 metrics, broken down by the top 10 countries, with plans to add more in the future.
Similar to the hardware report for developers, we hope the report can be a resource for journalists, researchers, and the public for understanding not only the state of desktop browsing but also how data is used at Mozilla. We try to be open by design and users should know how data is collected, what data is collected, and how that data is used.
We collect non-sensitive data from the Firefox desktop browsers’ Telemetry system, which sends us data on the browser’s performance, hardware, usage and customizations. All data undergoes an extensive review process to ensure that anything we collect is necessary and secure. If you’re curious about exactly what data you’re sending to Mozilla, you can see for yourself by navigating to about:telemetry in the Firefox browser (and if you’re uncomfortable with sending any of this data to Firefox, you can always disable data collection by going to about:preferences#privacy.)
With this data, we aggregate metrics for a variety of use cases, from tracking crash rates to answering specific product questions (how many clients have add-ons? 35% this week.) In addition we measure the impact of experiments that we run to improve the browser.
Firefox is an open source project and we think the data generated should be useful to the public as well. Code contributors should be able to see how many users their work impacted last month (256 million), researchers should be able to know how browser usage is changing in developing nations, and the general public should be able to see how we use data.
After all, it’s your data.