Were you using a web browser 10 years ago? What about 1 year ago? I know I was.
But you know what? I couldn't tell you the specifics of what I was doing on the internet. Could you tell me what sites you visited 728 days ago? Probably not.
This situation I find quite appalling.
Web browsers record what sites you visit so that you can revisit them in the future, right? Indeed, they do have this functionality. However, after a certain number of months your history gets deleted.
Months, that's right. In the case of Chrome it's 3 months.
This is why your browsing history is not true: It's not a full history.
Well, it's not that you should care it's that I do care. If you have zero curiosity about your past browsing history you can stop reading right now—the rest of this post probably won't interest you.
The reason you might care is that you value having access to your own data.
Every time you use a browser you generate A LOT of data, but for the most part this data isn't accessible.
Have you ever wanted to recall something you read online a few months ago? If so, we're in the same boat. In fact, that little situation is what led me to discover that Chrome only stores 3 months of browsing history!
The obvious objection to this talk of unlimited and persistent browsing history is that you don't want to record every site you visit. Totally fair. That's what private browsing is for. Chrome and Firefox literally don't record* what you do in a private tab, so everything I'm talking about here would not break the guarantees of private browsing.
As far as I know, not much. There is a Chrome Plugin that will store your history in a separate database and thus keep it around for you. That's a great start, but it has a few shortcomings:
At long last I decided to take matters into my own hands. I'm building a tool to easily and continuously backup your browsing history while making it easy to search.
Here's what I'm thinking:
> 0but is it significant? 🤷
Browsing history is just the tip of the iceberg. I'd also like to instantly be able to search over many things for which ample data exists but is not readily accessible:
We're all generating so much data every day and yet we have very limited access to it. I'd like to change that.
No more wondering "What was that interesting video I watched earlier this year?" and not being able to find an answer.
If having access to your browsing history sounds at all interesting to you then message me on Twitter: @ian_sinn. I'd be happy to share.
I write about life as well as my mistakes and successes as I learn to build a business. I'm building a self-funded startup (Pairwise).