Chrome has always been collecting our browsing data yet there is no proper ways to illustrate it. So, why don’t we have the access to our own browsing analysis?
What it does
Iwantoknow.me monitors browser activities, then organizes and presents the data collected in a simple and intuitive way. The responsive interface allows users to accurately identify the time spent at browsing different sites using the graph. Iwantoknow.me also comes in handy when the users intend to tune their lifestyle by notifying the users whenever too much time is spent on a certain domain. What makes it stands out is that when the users overspent their time on the Internet or a certain pages, Iwantoknow.me will notify the users regarding the overspent issue rather than blocking the selected browser. We purposely designed it this way because the users might need to use the blocked website for important matters.
Challenges we ran into
Our main priority was to get the information about the actual time you spend on a website, since there is no tool that does this (most tool just gives us the number of time you visit a website, but that does not accurately measure time). We ran into many challenges in gathering this data, working with (and against) chrome's API (which was not build for this solution in mind). We found that there are many cases that we would not want to count a user as "actively" visiting a site (i.e. if they opened a tab, but not actually use it).
Another challenge that we have was integrating with current offline web data storage. Since we would be recording a lot of user action in the browser (i.e. every tab and window change), we would be storing large amounts of data. Most offline web storage technology allows only small amounts of data to be stored (i.e. localStorage allow ~5Mb). We found the new IndexedDB technology useful to us (albeit quite low level), and we manage to model, abstract, and store our data with it.
Besides collecting data, we also want to be able to present users with useful data about their browsing time and history.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We completed the chrome extension, published the app on the chrome web store and launched a landing page that introduces the app.
What we learned
Always think of a few plans ahead, just in case the first plan didn't work out.
What's next for Iwantoknow.me
We hope to be able to determine the top 5 topics the users always look for in the browsers and recommend websites based on their interest while not affecting their productivity. For example, we can suggest websites that are more related to study or work materials in comparison to entertainment or social based websites. We also intend to integrate this extension with other to do lists and online calendars so that it reminds the user that there is something more important to be done when the user is spending too much time on a certain website. Last but not least, we wish to implement a leaderboard system for users to compete with each other and motivate themselves to be more productive.