Personal Interest Dashboard could improve Firefox’s History significantly

No matter which browser you use, the browsing history that it makes available, that is the websites that you have visited in the past, is boring to look at and does not reveal many information other than when and what.

A first concept for a Personal Internet Dashboard for the Firefox web browser was published on Bugzilla which visualizes how things could change in the near future.

The project is part of Mozilla's User Personalization initiative which aims to bring personalization to users that respects privacy.

The main goal or objective of the Personal Interest Dashboard is to provide users with a visual representation and analysis of interests based on their browsing behavior. In addition to that, it aims to help users discover new contents on the Internet related to that.

The following mockup shows how the dashboard could look like when opened in the Firefox web browser.

firefox personal interest dashboard

As you can see, this looks similar to how web analytic services display visits and user interaction to webmasters. The dashboard displays general stats about your visits at the top including how many different sites have been visited in the past 30 days, the number of page views, and how much time you spend on average per day and per week visiting those sites. Here you also find listed the most visited sites of the last 30 days.

In addition to that, sites are automatically sorted into interests such as banking, blogging or cuisine below that. Each interest is ranked, the number of sites visited is displayed, and the last time you have visited one of the sites in the category.

A click on an interest expands the selection displaying site titles, links and the time you have visited them.

The second part of the Interest Dashboard opens when you click on discover new interests. This is a recommendation engine that is powered by your browsing behavior.

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It displays interests related to a user's browsing history and searches. A click on one of the interest bubbles displays site recommendations on the screen.

discover interests

It is not clear yet where those recommendations come from, for instance if they are curated by Mozilla or if  they are powered by a third-party source such as the DMOZ directory.

Mozilla makes it perfectly clear that it puts the user in charge.

The data we track and display must be clear to the user and be done on their behalf.

Any personal information collected must be initiated with the user's consent.

We will provide the user choices on what they want to share about their online experiences.

Mozilla has some experience in this regard. Back in 2012 it released an experimental add-on that displayed information about a user's browsing behavior by matching sites to DMOZ categories.

Please note that this is a concept at this point in time and not something that is implemented yet which means that everything is subject to change.

Conclusion

Providing users with additional information about their browsing behavior is an interesting idea. While not entirely new, add-ons such as Page Addict introduced this as early as 2006, it should be a welcome change to many users.

The feature stands and falls with proper categorization. Mozilla's 2012 add-on for instance was not very accurate in this regard and it remains to be seen if this new approach does a better job. An option to move a site from one interest to another could come in handy here.

I'm not really interested in the discovery part, as these type of services tend to display the usual high profile websites and companies only.

This article was first seen on ComTek's "TekBits" Technology News

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