Three useful Firefox 3 'awesome bar' hacks

Instead of disabling it altogether, you can make Mozilla Firefox's Smart Location Bar more or less awesome than before. Webware shows you how to better control what URLs get listed.

The Firefox 3 honeymoon is over.

It is indeed awesome, but it could use a little tweaking to keep your surfing a high-speed affair, right? You're in luck, because there are some easy tweaks.

The other day, we pointed you toward how to get rid of the updated address bar's new features completely, but why not just tweak what you see, instead? Here are some tips to bail you out.

1. Control how many listings you're getting. The default number of sites that show up on the Smart Location Bar, or "awesome bar," of the nwe Mozilla browser is 12. Changing that number works the same way as getting rid of the sites altogether.

Just type about:config into your address bar, hit the "okay" button when the security warning pops up, then paste browser.urlbar.maxRichResults in the open box, and hit the Enter key.

Double-click the result, and it'll let you change that digit to whatever you want. One thing to note, though, is if you add more results, it won't make the list any longer than six at a time, so you'll still have to scroll.

2. Keep bookmarks off the address bar. You save a bunch of sites, but you don't want them showing up when you're typing, right? This extension will keep the church-and-state line of browsing history and bookmarks from being crossed ever again.

This probably isn't useful, if you only have a few bookmarks, but it can be very helpful if you've got a huge collection that requires you to scroll down the list to find the site you're looking for, effectively killing any time saving the bar was meant to do.

Add-on Distrust lets you get away with 'private' browsing in Firefox 3. Mozilla Add-ons

3. Keep certain sites from showing up altogether. Got a site you'd rather not have others see when they're using your machine? Unless you've got browser history turned off, and the site isn't bookmarked, you're generally out of luck.

There's currently not a way to keep specific sites from showing up or right-clicking to remove them from the list, which is why we have to recommend using Apple's Safari for it's "private browsing" feature. When toggled, it won't save any of your information, clicks, or cached data for anyone else to find.

If you don't feel like switching browsers (even though Safari is pretty darn good), there's an extension called Distrust (download here) that emulates the same thing, deleting only the bits of data from that session. Just don't be surprised if your significant other or kids ask why there's an eyeball in the corner of your screen.

Got any of your own tips? Share them in the comments.

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About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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