Telemetry

This section describes existing telemetry probes measuring interaction with search engines from the browser UI.

Other search-related telemetry is recorded by Toolkit such as search service telemetry and telemetry related to fetching search suggestions. Toolkit search telemetry is relevant to Firefox as well as other consumers of Toolkit. See Telemetry in the Toolkit documentation for details.

Glossary

SAP

Search Access Point, a search that a user performs by visiting via one of Firefox’s access points using the associated partner codes.

SERP

A search engine results page.

Persisted Search

When a user has the following preference values:

  • browser.urlbar.showSearchTerms.enabled: true

  • browser.urlbar.showSearchTerms.featureGate: true

  • browser.search.widget.inNavBar: false

and does the following:

  • Starts a search from the urlbar or context menu.

  • Loads the default search engine results page.

the search term will persist in the Urlbar, causing it to enter a Persisted Search state.

Definitions

organic

A search that a user performs by visiting a search engine directly.

tagged

Refers to a page that is tagged with an associated partner code. It may or may not have originated via a SAP.

tagged-follow-on

Refers to a page that is tagged with an associated partner code and has been identified as a follow-on search. It may or may not have originated via a SAP.

Search probes relevant to front-end searches

The Address Bar is an integral part of search and has additional telemetry of its own.

BrowserSearchTelemetry.sys.mjs

This telemetry is handled by BrowserSearchTelemetry.sys.mjs.

SEARCH_COUNTS - SAP usage

This histogram tracks search engines and Search Access Points. It is augmented by multiple SAPs, including the urlbar. It’s a keyed histogram, the keys are strings made up of search engine names and SAP names, for example google.urlbar. For each key, this records the count of searches made using that engine and SAP. SAP names can be:

  • alias This is when using an alias (like @google) in the urlbar. Note there is often confusion between the terms alias and keyword, and they may be used inappropriately: aliases refer to search engines, while keywords refer to bookmarks. We expect no results for this SAP in Firefox 83+, since urlbar-searchmode replaces it.

  • abouthome

  • contextmenu

  • newtab

  • searchbar

  • system

  • urlbar Except aliases and search mode.

  • urlbar-handoff Used when searching from about:newtab.

  • urlbar-persisted Used when searching from the Urlbar while it was in a Persisted Search state.

  • urlbar-searchmode Used when the Urlbar is in search mode.

  • webextension

browser.engagement.navigation.*

These keyed scalars track search through different SAPs, for example the urlbar is tracked by browser.engagement.navigation.urlbar. It counts loads triggered in a subsession from the specified SAP, broken down by the originating action. Possible SAPs are:

  • urlbar Except search mode.

  • urlbar_handoff Used when searching from about:newtab.

  • urlbar_persisted Used when searching from the Urlbar while it was in a Persisted Search state.

  • urlbar_searchmode Used when the Urlbar is in search mode.

  • searchbar

  • about_home

  • about_newtab

  • contextmenu

  • webextension

  • system Indicates a search from the command line.

Recorded actions may be:

  • search Used for any search from contextmenu, system and webextension.

  • search_alias For urlbar, indicates the user confirmed a search through an alias.

  • search_enter For about_home and about:newtab this counts any search. For the other SAPs it tracks typing and then pressing Enter.

  • search_formhistory For urlbar, indicates the user picked a form history result.

  • search_oneoff For urlbar or searchbar, indicates the user confirmed a search using a one-off button.

  • search_suggestion For urlbar or searchbar, indicates the user confirmed a search suggestion.

navigation.search (OBSOLETE)

This is a legacy and disabled event telemetry that is currently under discussion for removal or modernization. It can’t be enabled through a pref. it’s more or less equivalent to browser.engagement.navigation, but can also report the picked search engine.

SearchSERPTelemetry.sys.mjs

This telemetry is handled by SearchSERPTelemetry.sys.mjs and the associated parent/child actors.

browser.search.content.*

These keyed scalar track counts of SERP page loads. The key format is <provider>:[tagged|tagged-follow-on|organic]:[<code>|other|none].

They are broken down by the originating SAP where known:

  • urlbar Except search mode.

  • urlbar_handoff Used when searching from about:newtab.

  • urlbar_persisted Used when searching from the Urlbar while it was in a Persisted Search state.

  • urlbar_searchmode Used when the Urlbar is in search mode.

  • searchbar

  • about_home

  • about_newtab

  • contextmenu

  • webextension

  • system Indicates a search from the command line.

  • tabhistory Indicates a search was counted as a result of the user loading it from the tab history.

  • reload Indicates a search was counted as a result of reloading the page.

  • unknown Indicates the origin was unknown.

browser.search.withads.*

These keyed scalar track counts of SERP pages with adverts displayed. The key format is <provider>:<tagged|organic>.

They are broken down by the originating SAP where known, the list of SAP is the same as for browser.search.content.*.

browser.search.adclicks.*

This is the same as `browser.search.withads.* but tracks counts for them clicks of adverts on SERP pages.