[tbb-dev] Daily users of Tor Browser

Nicolas Vigier boklm at mars-attacks.org
Fri Mar 23 13:38:43 UTC 2018

On Fri, 23 Mar 2018, sajolida wrote:

> I originally wrote wrote to metrics-team@ but they redirected me to you.
> I wanted to have a (rough) number of daily users of Tor Browser to
> compare it to the daily users of Tails (instead of comparing it to the
> daily users of Tor as a whole).
> I went up to "Update pings" in "Tor Browser downloads and updates":
> https://metrics.torproject.org/webstats-tb.html
> But I have a hard time interpreting this number from the description of
> the metric:
> « Update pings and update requests are requests made by Tor Browser to
> check whether a newer version is available or to download a newer version. »
> How often Tor Browser is pinging for updates? Once a day? Every time it
> starts?

The app.update.interval pref defines how often the browser is pinging
for updates: http://kb.mozillazine.org/App.update.interval

In Tor Browser it is set to 43200 (12 hours), so people who run their
browser in the morning and more than 12 hours later in the evening can
do two pings a day. But many users probably don't use their browser in
an interval that is more than 12 hours per day so they only do one ping.

> I also understand from #22346 that I should rather use the numbers after
> the big drop around January 20.

It is still unclear why the number of pings dropped in January 2017,
increased in April 2017 and dropped again in January 2018. So I am not
sure which number is the right one, but the number after the drop seems
more likely:
 - On 2017-05-18 we had 2.27M Tor users, and 2.3M Tor Browser pings.
 - On 2017-02-18 we had 1.73M Tor users, and 700k Tor Browser pings.

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