The Best Feature of the Upcoming Firefox 3

Easily the best new feature in Firefox 3, in beta, is the new location bar, dubbed the “Awesome Bar” in some quarters.

Firefox 3 "awesome bar"

Most web browser location bars will search through the addresses of the websites you’ve visited recently when you type in them, including the ones in Firefox 2, Safari and Internet Explorer. Firefox 3 differs in that it searches the page titles too. In this age of non-descriptive URLs, searching only the web address is certainly sub-optimal. A page’s title is far more likely to contain useful information if you are searching for something but don’t know where you saw it.

Take the above screenshot. I wanted to find the page for a jacket I’d been thinking of buying, the Bushwick Jacket. I remembered the name of the jacket, so I typed “bush” and Firefox has looked through my bookmarks and history to find any items with “bush” in the name. In addition to picking out the jacket, it has also found items on George Bush and Sheperd’s Bush.

If you examine the screenshot closely, you can see that only one of the URLs has “bush” in, and therefore most of the pages wouldn’t have been found by searching only the addresses, and, by extension, by most current browsers.

I have grown increasingly reliant on this feature at work, and it has me swapping between Safari and Firefox on my mac at the moment. It really lives up to the nickname “awesome bar”.

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