Mozilla Responds to How Many Users Have Firefox Add-ons Question
Article by George Norman
On 12 Aug 2009
One of the great things about the Mozilla developed Firefox browser is that you can take advantage of the functionality provided by tons and tons of add-ons. I use add-ons, and the people I know use add-ons, but this is hardly seeing the big picture. The question that comes to mind is how many Firefox users out there use add-ons? After all, more than 1 billion downloads have been recorded since the browser was released 5 years ago.

It turns out that Mozilla gets this question a lot, but until now it was unable to provide a proper answer to it. An answer could have been provided last year, when the Firefox Add-ons team tried to tackle this issue, but the immensity of the data that the add-ons site processes meant they could not do it on their own. So they called in Simon Krueger from the Mozilla Metrics team and now, one year later, the question can be answered.


“On June 22, received 253.7 million add-on update pings, 244.7M of which were for Firefox add-ons. Firefox sends an update ping for each installed add-on once every day it is running, and at other unscheduled times such as installing an incompatible add-on and Firefox upgrades. Not all update pings go to, however — only add-ons hosted there and add-ons that have not set their own URL to check for updates. Of all of those pings, we counted 32.8M unique IP addresses. This means that the minimum number of active daily users with at least 1 add-on installed was 33.8M, or 33% of Firefox users,” explained the Add-ons team.

But if you take into consideration the multitude of computers on home and business networks that hide behind the same IP, the number of unique IPs goes up to 61.5M and the number of Firefox users that have an add-on installed goes up to 52.6M. In percentages, that is 53% of Firefox users. Please note that all these figures apply to active daily users.

“A minimum of 33% of users having chosen to install add-ons is great news, and is higher than our previous estimates. It’s especially exciting that we have a new metric to track the success and adoption of add-ons as we launch new features and campaigns encouraging users to customize Firefox and make it their own,” added the Firefox Add-ons team.

In the last couple of months or so the topic of Firefox add-ons came up several times. Back in June we reported about Add-on Collections, a means of creating your very own collection of add-ons which you can easily share with others, post on your blog, have features on the Firefox Add-ons site. The there was the topic of add-on tagging, which makes it easier to discover add-on (at least certain types of add-ons). And a couple of days back, we reported on the add-on verification suite, an automated tool that will examine add-ons, look for problems and suggest fixes when a problem is detected.

If you would like to get an add-on for your Firefox browser, visit the official Firefox Add-ons site here.

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons
About the author: George Norman
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