Yesterday, Mozilla was in the news again for releasing a Firefox add-on called Facebook Container. The work of (amongst others) :groovecoder, :pdol, :pdehaan, :rfeeley, :tanvi, and :jkt, Facebook Container puts Facebook in a little box and doesn’t let it see what else you do on the web.
You can try it out right now if you’d like. It’s really just as simple as going to the Facebook Container page on addons.mozilla.org and clicking on the “+ Add to Firefox” button. From then on Facebook will only be able to track you with their cookies while you are actually visiting Facebook.
It’s easy-to-use, open source, and incredibly timely. So it quickly hit the usual nerdy corners of the web… but then it spread. Even Forbes picked it up. We started seeing incredible numbers of hits on the blogpost (I don’t have plots for that, sorry).
With all this positive press did we see any additional new Firefox users because of it?
Normally this is where I trot out the usual gimmick “Well, it depends on how you word the question.” “Additional” compared to what, exactly? Compared to the day before? The same day a week ago? A month ago?
In this case it really doesn’t depend. I can’t tell, no matter how I word the question. And this annoys me.
I mean, look at these graphs:
Here’s one showing the new-profile pings we receive each minute of some interesting days:
Summer Time lining up with Daylight Saving Time means that different parts of the world were installing Firefox at different times of the day. The shapes of the curves don’t line up, making it impossible to compare between days.
So here’s one showing the number of new-profile pings we received each day this month:
Yesterday’s numbers are low comparing to other Tuesdays these past four weeks, but look at how low Monday’s numbers are! Clearly this is some weird kinda week, making it impossible to compare between weeks.
So here’s one showing approximate Firefox client counts of last April:
This highlights a seasonal depression starting the week of April 10 similar to the one shown in the previous plot. This is expected since we’re in the weeks surrounding Easter… but why did I look at last April instead of last March? Easter changes its position relative to the civil calendar, making it impossible to compare between years.
So, did we see any additional new Firefox users thanks to all of the hard work put into Facebook Container?