Boris Smus

interaction engineering

Chronos: Chrome browsing metrics

Like most people, I'm slowly lifting most of my work into the cloud. This leads to a lot of time spent in the browser. Just how much, I'm not really sure. Enter Chronos, a Chrome extension to track how much time you spend on each domain you visit. Chronos gives a per-day breakdown of time spent actively browsing. In addition to showing a graphical summary of domain frequency, you also get a total time spent in Chrome, and how much time your Chrome spends idle.

Chronos, named after the Greek god of time, quietly sits and monitors keyboard and mouse events you generate. If you've been active recently, the domain you're visiting gets recorded. The data structure that stores this timing information persists on the client side using localStorage. This data is never sent to any servers, so your browsing privacy is preserved. Chronos' visualization is built out of HTML divs. Just for fun, if you become inactive in Chrome, the Chronos icon in the extensions toolbar fades out.

Some features that I would find useful to add to Chronos revolve around productivity and time management:

  1. Chronos makes it really obvious which sites consume most of your time. It would make sense to be able to enforce time limits spent on sites, either by interfacing with an extension like StayFocusd, or by replicating that functionality.
  2. Many people find it helpful to be reminded to take breaks from computing, either for RSI purposes or for general productivity. Chronos already tracks activity levels in Chrome, so it could be augmented to remind people to take breaks in a way similar to AntiRSI.

Have a great idea to add to Chronos? Let me know, or add it yourself! As usual, the source code is on github.