Mozilla some time ago implemented options in the Firefox web browser to collect anonymous telemetry data about browser usage and customizations. It is a useful feature for the organization as it provides its engineers with data on what is hot and what is not so to speak.
I have covered the browser's Telemetry feature back in 2011 for the first time when it was introduced by Mozilla. To sum it up in a sentence: Telemetry collects and shares performance, customization, hardware and usage about the browser with Mozilla.
One of the first things that I have done in the past when I set up Firefox anew was to disable the sending of data to Mozilla. I disabled Telemetry, Crash Reporter and the Health Report so that no data was transferred to Mozilla. It is likely that many advanced or power users are doing the same, and while that seems like the reasonable thing to do privacy-wise, it may have a severe consequence.
Mozilla uses Telemetry data when it makes development decisions. Development is a broad term that not only refers to improving the browser's performance and stability, but also to interface modifications.
And that is where it gets interesting. Advanced users use Firefox in a different way. They may have enabled the add-on bar for example, or display tabs below the address bar, or use a custom toolbar. Mozilla won't know that if Telemetry is disabled. At the very least, it may get different counts on how many users actually customize the browser, and how many do not.
While I cannot say for sure how big of an impact it would make if all power users would turn on Telemetry right now, it could highlight that more users than thought are using Firefox features that Mozilla plans to remove from the web browser.
It may be a long shot, and it may not make a difference in the end, but we never know if we do not try.
How to enable Telemetry in Firefox
To enable Firefox's Telemetry feature do the following:
- Press the Alt-key on your keyboard and select Tools > Options from the menu at the top.
- Switch to Advanced > Data Choices in the Options window.
- There you find Telemetry. To enable it, check the box and close the Window afterwards.
- Once enabled, enter about:telemetry to see some of the information the Telemetry feature collects.
Note: Telemetry is enabled by default in Firefox Aurora and Nightly, and disabled by default in Firefox Beta and Stable.
I do not know if this will make a difference or not. But I prefer to give it a try rather than to being a passive bystander that does nothing to bring his point across.