Home Firefox Creates a Smarter Browser Bar

Firefox Creates a Smarter Browser Bar

A new add-on to Firefox combines resources location and category search to the toolbar while protecting your browsing activity.

AwesomeBar HD is a spin-off from the Home Dash project designed by Mozilla developer Edward Lee to improve browsing and content discovery without the use of a toolbar. AwesomeBar is the opposite of Home Dash: instead of getting rid of the toolbar, it makes the address bar much more intuitive.

The AwesomeBar makes searching from the toolbar more semantic by allowing the user to search the Web via categories. Search movies, sports or people through the most pertinent sites pertaining to the topic. Say you want to search maps. Hover your cursor over the maps tag in the tool bar and a pull-down menu with Google Maps, Bing Maps or MapQuest appears. The references tag will allow you to search Wikipedia, Answers.com or Dictionary.com and so forth.

AwesomeBar taps into the specialized search offered by those sites and returns more granular results than if you were just trying a Google search from a generic toolbar.

In terms of privacy, Firefox will not send input to a remote server. Here is the explanation in the introductory video:

“Instead, when you browse to a previously visited page, Firefox will only look through its local history without any network activity. The results come back in an order that looks at both how frequently and how recently you’ve been to the pages in addition to some adaptive learning for a bit of awesome.”

One problem that we noticed is that the address bar does not save the URL of the site you are on once you get there. Instead, there is a blank spot ready for the next query. For people who regularly copy and paste links from the address bar that becomes a problem. Lee is open to feedback and the tools are still in experimental mode. If you have suggestions, head on over to his page and let him know. If you want to see the code for the AwesomeBar, Lee has posted it on GitHub.

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