2023-10-31, updated: 2024-03-12

Tags: statistics, engineering.

Browser Extension Usage in Primates

Browser Extension Usage in Primates

Thomas Lansing

Browser Extension Behaviors

Wild tool use in primates is a known phenomenon, yet remains poorly documented to this day. Like the great apes of central Africa, which are known to fashion tools for foraging and self-defense, the computer programmer maintains a collection of tools and practices for their daily survival. One of these important tools is the Internet browser and its associated extensions.

A survey was conducted to understand the browser extension behaviors of this wild population and the results are presented here.

Context, purpose

Work continues to build a web browser to meet the needs and expectations of online researchers, and code-proficient computer users. This survey was conducted to help characterize the unmet needs of that group and "Must have" user requirements in the new Internet environment.

Extension support for Nyxt is an ongoing development project and my hope is that these responses help to clarify the scope for our team of contributors. In my view, browser extensions represent features of significant importance to users who care enough to take extra steps to ensure that their browsing experience includes those features. Actions speak louder than words, and these are the actions.

To further this understanding, respondents were asked about browsing behaviors OUTSIDE the Nyxt environment, to help determine which features merit enough attention to bring into the fold.

voracity and sample population characteristics


  1. Adblocking extensions are more common than any other group. Ublock Origin is mentioned by 67 of 100 respondents in the sample population.
  2. Password management (auto-fill) extensions are significant, and need to be considered. Bitwarden is the second most mentioned extension, and respondents tended to use importance modifiers like "MUST HAVE, my whole online life is on there" when describing both Bitwarden, and similar extensions such as 1Password.
  3. Many responses have to do with YouTube and video display. Some participants who mention YouTube suggest a tall stack of related extensions. Mostly about advert avoidance, some about play speed, or content moderation. I get the sense that people want more control over the feed. The extension Return YouTube Dislike was mentioned 7 times, and extensions similar to Enhancer for YouTube were mentioned about 10 times. "if browsing YouTube would be possible that would be great" -anonymous
  4. One thing you don’t see, but I can tell you, is that respondents did show interest in the extension NoScript. This extension does not fit nicely in our analysis as some users have other ways to deactivate JavaScript in browsers and Nyxt already does this with `no-script` mode.

Good luck out there my friends with computers and sincerely thank you again to any research participants.

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