Mozilla explains user-tracking proposal for Firefox

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by vasa1, Feb 9, 2012.

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  1. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Comment by Steve the Cynic here.
     
  2. guest

    guest Guest

    And what does that snippet ("Argle flargle argle flargle, we will fleen your ogglefloggle") mean? o_O
     
  3. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    i like that one:
    lol
     
  4. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    it is the new user agreement that you have to click on to proceed. lol :D
     
  5. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Thank you for clearing that up. I suspect SirPeter is not a fan of Jabberwocky.

    Anyway, more argle flargle here:
    Anonymous metrics collection from Firefox
    I think this thread and the bugs referenced are worth reading if one has the time!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  6. Daveski17

    Daveski17 Registered Member

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    O fudjous day! Callooh! Callay!
    He chortled in his cynicism.

    ;)
     
  7. tlu

    tlu Guest

    Yes, and that lengthy discussion proves it again that Mozilla takes privacy very seriously. I'm convinced that they won't run the risk of losing their reputation as the "least evil" browser.
     
  8. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    But leaving the privacy bit aside, if that is possible, what do you think of the exercise?

    From what I gathered, they hope the data collected would help them identify reasons that make people switch to another browser. I'm not sure that the reasons can revealed by data mining, no matter how exhaustive... the very existence of Chrome with the might of Google behind it; the impact of other means of accessing the net via devices where Mozilla's presence is negligible; and the buzz that is present about Chrome's invulnerability due to sandboxing.

    Things like bugs, discontent over the loss of a beloved add-on, or changes in the UI are, in any case, being eloquently flogged to death on a daily basis and don't need data-mining to discover.
     
  9. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Data collection lets you see bugs, crashes, vulnerabilities, usage statistics, etc. It's probably the most helpful way to learn how to improve a product.

    I doubt Firefox will do this - they need to stay as separate from Chrome as possible. They're pushing the "We're private" stuff hard. If they did it opt-out it would be hilarious.

    Data collection does not have to be "evil" though but that's a discussion with no point.
     
  10. tlu

    tlu Guest

    Well, aside from collecting bugs and crashes - as Hungry suggests - that annoy users, I can only offer some guesses. They might be able to draw some conclusions from their findings about what OS the user is running or how many and which add-ons they are using. E.g., one could assume that inexperienced users only use few - if any - add-ons. If the data mining would reveal that many of those users abandon Firefox, this could lead to the conclusion that FF is not user-friendly enough for novices.
     
  11. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    I would definitely expect them to check what OS is running. I'm sure that's already sent in crash reports.
     
  12. allizomeniz

    allizomeniz Registered Member

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    Invariably they say "we never collect personal or private data," but they could and no one would know, that's why I always opt out given the opportunity.
     
  13. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    You could always check a packet filter unless it's encrypted but I'm sure there are ways around that even. And Firefox is open source so anything they collect would show right in the code.
     
  14. tlu

    tlu Guest

    Exactly. Some people are really more paranoid than necessary ;)
     
  15. DOSawaits

    DOSawaits Registered Member

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    If there's one program i would let send out "statistics" now & then, it's mozilla, after all if FF is your prefered browser, it can only get better by helping in bug- or resourcetracking problems. Honestly i don't think Mozilla would do things we could expect from Google, Facebook or Microsoft.
    Of course, If you happen to surf porn sites 90% of the time, then it's better not having it crashing there :D
     
  16. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Hungry offered a partial (and text-book) opinion ;)

    What I'm trying to get at is this. The planned exercise being referred to is in addition to telemetry. The stated aim is to discover why people are switching away. Fine, one gathers a lot of data. But the interpretation will be contentious. Let's just take one point. The arrival of Chrome on the scene. Suppose a Firefox user tries Chrome and likes it more and switches. Just how will any data reveal the reason? The fact maybe be clear from the browsing history. Downloaded Chrome today ... no further use of Firefox ... It's fair to assume that the user has switched but not why?

    I think someone at Mozilla is placing more reliance on data mining than on having someone read posts in forums or at SUMO or even bugzilla to get a sense of how users feel.

    (For whatever it's worth, Chrome has achieved its market share despite Google doing what it thinks is best. Google really didn't poll around to make a please-all browser by "consensus".) They had/have a vision thing and went for it.
     
  17. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Posts on a forum maybe gives you a few hundred... maybe a few thousand views.

    Information from data collection will garner millions of users opinions.

    This is a very good point. I think that at one point Firefox was a "visionary" browser - it set out to do some amazing things and it did. It and Netscape truly changed the internet.

    Chrome came out and it did some interesting things as well. Developers have stated before that if you want a browser with a million features in it by default go for Opera or Firefox. They have their vision and they're going for it and I think users are attracted to that just as they were to Firefox.
     
  18. guest

    guest Guest

    Google Chrome achieved its market share mainly though aggressive (and costly!) marketing and paying (expensive!) to third-party devs to bundle the browser installer with unrelated software. Mozilla can't do the same thing to the same extent without the same budget. They better continue "hearing" their users and improving the feedback process to reach larger and larger audiences. Though I'm sure I'll disable this "new" tracking feature - because I use other more direct channels to communicate my opinions and report issues - I think the idea is fine.
     
  19. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Mozilla has a very large budget - thanks to Google. Attributing Chrome's success to their marketing seems a bit silly. They've only been aggressive in the last year that I've seen.

    I think most people switch browsers because they hear about it from a nerdy friend.
     
  20. guest

    guest Guest

    Is that budget sufficient to make a marketing as aggressive as Google Chrome's one and, at the same time, continue paying all the bills/wages and investing in new ideas/projects? I don't think so.

    Where were you in 2009, 2010? In a cave without internet access? :D OK, sorry for the joke, but that would explain a lot.

    Sorry, but I think that your "explanation" is a bit silly if you are going to generalize it to include every browser.

    From what I've seem, the nerdy friends continue recommending Firefox.

    But, obviously, we may just know different persons with different habits.

    For the record, here is what I see (again):

     
  21. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    Hundreds of millions of dollars - isn't that how much Google gave them?

    I think Firefox's marketing plan is more "Be good and have people talk about the product."

    I haven't really been following it. Most Chrome ads have been in the last year in my experience but I'm not calling that fact.

    We've had very different experiences, clearly.

    I'm sure marketing has a large component to it. I just don't think that everyone saw the commercials and went to it. I'm sure it had an effect, at the very least it got people to talk, but most older people I know who run Chrome or Firefox had it installed by someone else for them. Most younger people I know who run Chrome or Firefox do so because they were told about it by someone else.

    I don't really know anyone who has switched due to the commercials - I just think the commercials get people talking.

    Of all of the people whose default browsers I actually know... none use IE so it's interesting that we have wildly different experiences here. And, of course, IE is the most popular browser so I wouldn't say my experiences are necessarily typical.
     
  22. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Can you explain how the scenario I put up would play out with mere data gathering?
     
  23. vasa1

    vasa1 Registered Member

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    Isn't there another browser that has an even bigger budget and monopoly on desktop PCs? Yet, that doesn't really help.

    Are we talking of people who use a browser because it is advertised even though they don't like it? Or are we talking of people who don't know how to uninstall a browser?

    Even you're welcome to explain how data-gathering will tell Mozilla why a person has stopped using Firefox. I need all the help I can get to understand this!
     
  24. DOSawaits

    DOSawaits Registered Member

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    Perhaps it's the dev's view on things and the way to go, there are no official user forums for firefox, or at least none where the current user's wishes & problems are properly being considered, Firefox is mostly being sqeezed & bended with the goal of attracting Chrome users, but they forget to keep their userbase happy at the same time. It doesn't matter if you keep on adding fresh water to a bucket when there are plently of holes in it. On most of Mozilla's blog sites it ain't about intersts in the user's view, it's more about playing around with some bell's and whistles, and once they get tired of it, it gets takes away again, only to start playing with something else, but nothing of real interest to the end user.

    You can track as much of you can, if your ears are covered, you'll never know.
     
  25. tlu

    tlu Guest

    This post by Daniel E (Veditz?) explains what Mozilla is trying to find out.
     
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