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Are you brave enough to create a visual map of your browser history?

Where do you spend most of your time online?  


Kate Knibbs


Posted on Mar 18, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 3:03 pm CDT

You can tell a lot about people by which websites they frequent. Are they avid news readers, with the New York Times website bookmarked? Do they log hours on Facebook? Are they spending their lunch break taking those Buzzfeed quizzes? Are they a tech blogger with 26 tabs open trying to keep on top of breaking news, or a fervent Redditor with a devotion to arguing about atheism?

Taking a look at someone’s Web browser is like taking a look at their bookshelf and their bedside drawer all at once: It shows what they look at to find out about things and entertain themselves… and what they look at to feel pleasure in the privacy of their home.

And now it’s easy to see what your own browsing history looks like in one big collection: Artist Shan Huang created a way to visually lay out our browsing habits into a somewhat terrifying stack of favicons (favicons are little icons in the top corner of your browser that show you which site you’re visiting). Huang created the browser art tool for a class at Carnegie Mellon University.

“I decided to dig deep into my browser history data for my data visualization project,” Huang wrote, describing the project. “Because I spend so much time online everyday, doing all sorts of things from working to socializing to just aimless wandering, I thought browser history alone could narrate a significant portion of my life and what was on my mind.”

Huang created an easy-to-use Chrome extension that turns your browsing history into a collage of favicons. If you’re anything like me, the result will underline a serious Facebook habit and a Gmail obsession (and, yes, maybe a predilection for the occasional online quiz).

The extension doesn’t pull favicons from what you look for under the digital cloak of Chrome’s Incognito browser, so less savory Web searches may not appear on your mosaic, in case you were worried about that sort of thing.

H/T TimePhoto by Manitoba Historical Maps/Flickr (CC By 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III


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*First Published: Mar 18, 2014, 3:20 pm CDT