How to Examine Your Chrome History: An Analysis

In this post I’m going to show a quick way to increase your awareness by using a tool to look at your Chrome History. While anyone can look at their history, it’s important to visualize data because it can help you spot trends in your habits.

For this analysis I’m using Web Historian, a nifty little chrome extension which allows you to look at your browsing data. I only have the last month or so of data (While I heavily encourage longitudinal data collection, internet history isn’t one of them), but let’s take a look:

The chart below represents my Chrome History by the number of times that I’ve visited each site (not the total amount of time spent on each site). The bigger the circle, the more I’ve visited the site. Interesting that google docs is my most visited site – I must have had a productive couple of weeks! It looks like Web Historian includes some color coding: all my social media is in red! I’m glad my reddit.com isn’t one of the top three sites, but it’s definitely up there, and I can always do better!

Web Historian also offers a heatmap view to understand what times you’re online. Here’s my heatmap over the past few weeks:

Web Historian Headmap

The squares represent hours of the day horizontally, and days of the week vertically. The darker they are, the more sites I visited during that hour. Looks like I become particularly active around 8pm, particularly earlier in the week. I guess I have a thing for late night web surfing early in the week (look at Monday and Tuesday)! Definitely something I can cut back on.

Based on this data, I know I need to continue to be cognizant of my social media time (Linkedin.com is gaining ground too), as well as taper off my screen time before 9pm – particularly if I want to go to bed by 9:30pm!

While this data didn’t reveal anything too crazy, I hope it serves an example of how easy analysis and measurement can be with the proper tools. There are plenty more chrome extensions beyond Web Historian which offer Chrome History visualizations which can help you learn more about your browsing habits!

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