Understanding users’ wants and needs for linking Cloud Storage providers

Note: this was written by two members of the Test Pilot team: Punam and Teon.

For our Cloud Storage experiment we sampled a small portion of Firefox users to gauge interest in saving downloads directly to their existing cloud storage, allowing the downloads to be accessible from all their devices. We used the Shield platform for this study.

Using learnings from the previous study, the Phase 2 study rolled out the Cloud Storage extension with a simpler and less disruptive interface by moving the option to save downloads into the Download Panel.

Key features of this experiment:

  • In this study, users of desktop cloud storage providers were prompted inside the download panel to use their existing cloud storage for saving files to the cloud. In the example below, the user already has Dropbox and Google Drive on their computer, so we gave both options.
  • Users of desktop cloud storage providers were able to use the context menu to select and move downloaded files to their preferred cloud storage.
  • Downloads in ‘Download Panel’ and ‘Download History’ were annotated with storage provider icon for users to easily differentiate cloud saved files from local downloads.
  • Users selecting cloud storage as a download option were able to view/update setting under Downloads in about:preferences.

The Cloud Storage Phase 2 Study was a two week study, launching at the end of June. It targeted 1% of Firefox 60+ release users with the en-US locale. Users who were a part of this study were prompted to change their defaults. If they said no or didn’t reply, no changes were made.

Key findings of the study


  • The types of Cloud Storage providers:
  • Given the option, would you choose to keep this feature in the browser?
  • 10.05% of users in the experimental condition opted-in to have the WebExtension change the default download location to their Cloud Storage provider.
  • 0.06% of users in the experimental condition used the `Move Download` feature.

For detailed findings, you can visit this URL.

Lessons Learned

In the download manager, the ‘Move Download To’ feature was only discoverable by right-click and we should have made it easier to find.

We targeted 1% of Release Firefox, but only a small portion of those users had cloud storage providers, and even a smaller portion opted in to our study. It would have been nice to be able to more accurately target people with cloud storage providers.