Opera has decided to take the route that other software companies are taking to improve the user experience. They are now asking people to download an experimental build of Opera (version 9.12) that will test a new reporting function that they have implemented. Like most other usage reports, this one is not designed to steal any personally identifiable information from you.
After you download and install the new experimental build of Opera you’ll get a popup window similar to the one above when you start the browser. It is just giving you a heads up that they will be collecting some information from you along with a quick way to disable this “feature.” The report is stored as an XML file in your profile so that you can review exactly what is being sent to them, but I noticed that the report is only created/modified when you close the browser.
In case you’re wondering what information they’ll see I have went ahead and attached my report here (I used a clean profile so there aren’t many stats in it). As you can see they only store numbers (excluding Visa and MasterCard numbers as they pointed out :) ), but it is actually quite a bit of information. Here is a quick run down on what they are collecting:
- Wand: whether it is enabled and how many logins/pages.
- Mail: number of searches, filters, total messages, unread messages, and number of accounts.
- Feeds: number of feeds.
- History: number of pages visited last week.
- Workspace: minimum/maximum number of tabs you have had open, minimum/maximum number of windows you have had open, average number of tabs, and browsing time.
- BitTorrent: number of downloads.
- Bookmarks: number of bookmarks and folders, along with the last time you created a bookmark.
- Contacts: number of contacts and folders, along with the last time you created a contact.
- Widgets: number of widgets and folders, along with the last time you created a widget.
- Notes: number of notes and folders, along with the last time you created a note.
- News: number of accounts.
- Chat: number of accounts.
- General: date/time when Opera was first installed.
That is pretty much all of the information that they take from you, but I guess I did fail to mention that they retrieve every preference as well. While this is a lot of information I don’t think it is the end of the world, and if anything it will really help the Opera team by seeing which of their features are used the most so that they can focus on making those better. I was reading through their comments and it looks like people are excited to see Opera collecting this information to make the browser even better.
If, however, you decide that you don’t want this feature enabled just go to the address bar, type in opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableUsageReport and uncheck the box to disable the usage report from being sent.