Plugin Visualizes Your Entire Browser History

Want to know exactly how much of your Internet time is spent fiddling around on Facebook versus doing all-important Googling, online shopping or watching videos? Try Iconic History, a plugin that puts your whole browser history into an exhaustive stream of favicons, the icons that appear next to a website’s name on a browser tab.

Created by Carnegie Mellon University computer science student Shan Huang for a class on interactive art and computational design, the plugin pulls your browser history from Google Chrome (which keeps up to four months of data) and visualizes every site you’ve visited by sorting each individual URL’s associated icon chronologically. So it’ll show if you’ve spent an entire day surfing Facebook, or if you’ve stayed up late into the night visiting Wikipedia.

“Because I spend so much time online every day, 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 writes in her summary of the project. For example, she found she frequently stayed up late online shopping at sites like Urban Outfitters and Macy’s.

Each icon is linked to the original URL, so it’s easy to go back and see exactly which Urban Outfitters sweater you were coveting or which seven YouTube videos you watched in a row, though these are visualized just as a long list of identical pictures. You can filter the list to show a specific site or time window during the day, in case you really need to know what you’ve been searching between midnight and 6 a.m. Hopefully you haven’t been clearing your most interesting data!

Try Iconic History for yourself here, or check out Huang’s demo.SF