Browser Add-ons, Flock, Mozilla, Mozilla Add-ons, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Firefox for Mobile, Netscape Navigator, Software, URL Fixer

URL Fixer Has Been Acquired

Update: URL Fixer was acquired and is now hosted at http://urlfixer.org/

URL Fixer, one of the first add-ons I wrote for Firefox, has been acquired! It is now being managed by the team at URLFixer.org.

URL Fixer was inspired in 2006 by this Firefox bug report. Since then, it has been a featured add-on on the Mozilla Add-ons Gallery, it was one of the first add-ons to be compatible with Mobile Firefox, and it placed in the Extend Firefox 2 contest. It used to be compatible with both SeaMonkey and Flock (remember Flock?); its functionality was included in Netscape Navigator 9, and it was at one point under consideration to be included in Firefox 3.

URL Fixer has also been the subject of several experiments: it was the source of the statistics I used in my examination of what people type in the address bar, and it was the add-on I used to test the feasibility of selling a freemium browser add-on.

The new team in charge of URL Fixer recently released version 4, which you can install without needing to restart Firefox; I’m looking forward to seeing what other improvements they make and in what direction they take the add-on. Please note: support questions should no longer go to me; please send them to info@urlfixer.org.

Standard
Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Firefox for Mobile, Programming, Technology, URL Fixer

What do people type in the address bar?

Update: URL Fixer was acquired and is now hosted at http://urlfixer.org/

Earlier this year, I added a feature to URL Fixer (a browser add-on that fixes errors in URLs that you type in the address bar) that collects anonymous usage stats from users who opt in in order to help improve the ways that URL Fixer corrects typos; the collected data includes domains that are typed in the URL bar as well as the locale (language/country) of the user who typed them.

I now have six months of data, and I’ve run some statistical analysis on it in order to share some interesting stats with you. (If I were more creative, I would make an infographic out of this information.) Note that this data does not include bookmarked links or links that users click on in websites. It is strictly domains that have been typed directly into the address bar.

Care to guess the most commonly typed domain? That’s right: facebook.com. It was typed almost three times as often as the second most popular domain, google.com.

The top 10 domains account for 20% of all typed domains.

facebook.com 9% twitter.com 1.1% amazon.com 0.5%
google.com 3.3% mail.google.com 0.6% reddit.com 0.5%
youtube.com 3.3% yahoo.com 0.6%
gmail.com 1.1% hotmail.com 0.6%

The most popular TLD for typed domains is .com, followed by .org, .net, and .de.

.com 63%
.org 4%
.net 4%
.de 4%
.ru 2%
.hu 1%
.fr 1%
.co.uk 1%
.br 1%

 

The top 17 TLD typos are all variations of .com. In order of frequency, they are .com\, .ocm, .con, .cmo, .copm, .xom, “.com,”, .vom, .comn, .com’, “.co,”, .comj, .coim, .cpm, .colm, .conm, and .coom.

The website that appears to benefit the most from users mistyping a legitimate URL is faceboook.com (count the o’s). It’s a scammy website set up to make you think that you have been chosen as a “Facebook Winner.” However, it is only typed once for every 7,930 times that someone correctly types facebook.com. (googe.com and goole.com are runners-up in this category, albeit with much less scammy sites in place than faceboook.com.)


49.5% of domains are typed with a leading “www.”.

The most popular non-.com/.net/.org domains: google.de, vkontakte.ru (a Russian social network), and google.fr.

The only locales where neither Google nor Facebook control the most popular domain are ru-RU (Russia – vkontakte.ru), fi-FI (Finland – aapeli.com, a gaming website), ko-KR (Korea – fomos.kr, an e-sports website), and zh-CN (China – baidu.com).

How does domain length correlate with typing frequency?

Domain Length vs Frequency Graph

(Facebook is to thank for the spike at 12 characters.)

How about alphabetical order? Has the old trick of choosing a site name early in the alphabet in order to show up above the fold on DMOZ had any lasting effect?

Facebook and Google certainly make their letters stand out, but there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the first letter of the domain and its popularity.

None of the domains with more than a 0.0005% share are unregistered, indicating that this kind of usage data would not be very useful to a scammer or phisher looking for new domain names.

Standard
Browser Add-ons, Mozilla, Mozilla Add-ons, Mozilla Fennec, Mozilla Firefox for Mobile, Programming, Tapsure

Tapsure: Better password input on mobile devices

Typing passwords on mobile devices sucks. If you have even a reasonably strong password (one that includes letters, numbers, and special characters), it can take more than a few seconds to type it out on a phone’s keypad or on-screen keyboard. In this day and age, that’s time you just don’t have!

Tapsure is an extension for Firefox for Mobile that alleviates this problem by allowing you to input passwords on websites by tapping a rhythm on your touchscreen rather than hunting through the device’s keyboard.

How does it work?

Install Tapsure here, and after restarting Firefox for Mobile, log into one of your online accounts as usual. After you log in, you’ll see a notification from Tapsure:

Choose “Yes,” and you’ll see this dialog:

(If you choose “No,” Tapsure will never ask about that specific password again. If you just close the notification, Tapsure will ask the next time you use the password.)

Here comes the fun part: think of a song, a pattern, a rhythm, or even some Morse code that you want to use to log in to sites that use this password – it can be anything, as long as it doesn’t have more than a full second between taps. Got it? Ok, now tap that song/pattern/rhythm/Morse code on the screen. Tapsure will save it and close the dialog.

Now, the next time you’re logging into a site that uses that password, instead of slowly typing out your super-secure 20-character password, just hold your finger down on the password field until you see this:

Now tap out your pattern from the previous step, and Tapsure will automatically fill in your password for you. (If you tap the pattern incorrectly, Tapsure will shake it off and give you another chance.)

You can repeat these steps for as many passwords as you like – Tapsure will remember them all.

Tapsure Settings

In the add-on options panel, you can reset all of the patterns you’ve saved with Tapsure to start over. (This will also clear the list of passwords that Tapsure won’t ask you to save a pattern for.)

Is this secure?

Yes, Tapsure saves your patterns and passwords using Firefox’s built-in password manager, so it just as secure as having Firefox remember your passwords. Tapsure also has the benefit that someone could closely watch you log in to a website without knowing your password, because it’s harder to discern and remember a tapped pattern than it is to watch the keys that you press.

Couldn’t I just tell Firefox to remember the password?

You could… but if you use the same password on more than one site (which I estimate that 99.9% of people do), you’d have to type it out with excruciating care on every single site that you use it on.

Miscellaneous

Try and use a semi-unique pattern – don’t choose Happy Birthday. It’s like using the password “password.”

Tapsure probably works better on capacitive touchscreens than resistive touch screens, simply due to the fact that it’s easier to tap a quick pattern when you don’t have to press down firmly on each tap.

Tapsure was entered in the Firefox Mobile Add-ons Cup. If you want to see it win, please write to your senators and representatives.

Where can I install it again?

Or, you can search for “Tapsure” in the “Get Add-ons” portion of Firefox for Mobile.

Standard