Closed Bug 1047117 Opened 10 years ago Closed 4 months ago

Contextual Feature Recommender is a little creepy


(Mozilla Labs Graveyard :: Test Pilot Studies, defect)

Not set


(Not tracked)



(Reporter: mt, Unassigned)



(1 file)

BECAUSE: it looks like someone is tracking my every move.

Are they?  

I mean, any more than they do already in the very aggregated, telemetry sense.

See attached screenshot.

I couldn't capture a screenshot of this, but when removed from the toolbar using the customization feature, the popup still appears: in the middle of my gmail.  That seems like an undesirable feature.
This looks like an experiment that was installed by test pilot.

0.  Bummed this creeped you out!  Obviously the way we built this doesn't work for you, and that's a failure on us.
1.  I am glad to hear this feedback.  Understanding which notifications and observations feel creepy (which is exactly the word we use!) is exactly what this experiment is about.  We missed the mark for you.
2.  If you want it gone, go to "about:addons" click on Feature Recommender, and uninstall.
3.  Code for addon: .  It "observes" several kinds of interactions, but "records" very little (in our opinion!).  
4.  I am curious about why arm (variation) you ended up in.  If you want to debrief about this, or give us more feedback, I am happy to talk more.  
5.  It was installed by Test Pilot.  As a matter of policy, Test Pilot has a wider scope to collect data than either Telemetry or FHR.
MT, missed your initial feedback about your expectation that removing the toolbar button should stop all notices.  Opened it as a bug on the project as: .
Hi Gregg,

I have no idea where I ended up; is there a way to look for which arm I landed in?  (I notice that you have an "unexplained" arm in the code; but is that just to suppress/enable the "BECAUSE:"?)

The general feeling from my immediate neighbours here - we're all highly sensitive to privacy/security features - was that this crossed over into creepy.  I think that it would have been very different had I chosen to install the addon myself.  I don't know what, short of that, you might do to improve the feedback.

Is the intent to move to using the main experimental platform?
Component: Untriaged → Test Pilot Studies
Product: Firefox → Mozilla Labs
Can we make this less creepy by changing the text?

Gmail Notifier can help you

BECAUSE: the browser history on this machine shows that you visit regularly.

Or something like that?

Gerv, you are in the maximal explanation arm.  

Previous research has shown that some users want explanations (i.e, they find that comforting), and some find it invasive.  We will see what the numbers say!

If this has any legs at all, then we can discuss a design rev on the specific copy, which we may have gotten wrong.
Yeah, it got a bit long as I edited and "clarified" :-) How can we show the user that all that's happened is that Firefox looked at the history Firefox is storing?

(Fwiw, we are looking at URLs as they load, here, but it could be other functions of history.  I like the suggestions though!  

The variables under study here are:
- active (Doorhanger) vs passive (button light)
- explained or not
- variation due to specific trigger/recommendation (urls, downloads, browser chrome)
- variation due to people

You are in the "active notification + explanations" variation.
Gerv, I think that the explanation is clearer, modulo Gregg's concern.  I think that it needs to address the implication of the explanation, namely: *who* is looking at my search history.  That's a much harder problem to address.  I'm guessing that this is only local processing by the addon without any information even hitting the network, but it's not clear that this is what is going on.
Product: Mozilla Labs → Mozilla Labs Graveyard
Closed: 4 months ago
Resolution: --- → INCOMPLETE
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