Mozilla Test Pilot: Watching Your Web Habits (With Permission)

Mozilla is preparing to launch a new open data collection program called Test Pilot. The program — which is completely optional and requires an active sign-up to be initiated — monitors your online activity so Mozilla can learn how its products’ features work for typical users.

Meet Mozilla Test Pilot

Test Pilot, announced in a blog posting Tuesday, works by installing an extension to your Firefox browser. It then collects non-personally-identifiable data from your browsing sessions and sends it over to Mozilla for processing. Mozilla promises the information will stay aggregated and anonymized.

The ultimate goal is to have the Test Pilot community serve as a 1 percent representative sample of the entire Firefox userbase. Subsequent releases are expected to target other Mozilla platforms and Labs projects.

Open Testing

Test Pilot will only collect data specific to what researchers need at any given moment — it won’t just broadly record everything you do. And, in true Mozilla form, the data will be made publicly available for anyone to use. Moreover, anyone can submit research tests of their own to be conducted within the Test Pilot community.

“Test Pilot is, simply put, part of the massively scaled open usability lab we’re aiming to build at Mozilla Labs,” Aza Raskin, head of user experience at Mozilla Labs, explains.

“[It will be] useful for both developers trying to prioritize features and academic researchers performing in-depth studies.”

Getting Test Pilot

You can read more about the Test Pilot program and watch for the extension to become available here.