Firefox 3 'awesome bar' not awesome for all

Turns out the Firefox 3 awesome bar may not be awesome for everyone.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
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.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
CNET Networks

There's no better way to incur user wrath than to change one of the fundamental features of a product. Apple's been doing it for years with each revision, usually prompting a positive cheer from most while alienating a certain margin of its fervent user base that vows to never buy or use the product again. Browser maker Mozilla is not without its own minority that appears to be up in arms about the updated address bar.

The Smart Location Bar, dubbed the "awesome bar" by the company, drops in a mix of your bookmarks and browser history as you type. For example, if you've got CNN.com bookmarked, or have visited it in the past, simply typing in a "C" would drop down a stream of links with some of the most relevant or highly visited sites rising to the top. It's been designed as a time-saver, but a group of users have come down on the new feature because it can't be turned off easily and has a quirky habit of putting some links in front of others.

Reader Jim points us toward this post on Mozilla Links about the feature back in the second beta that has accumulated nearly 300 user comments. Notice the date though (November 2007), and the latest comment was just a few minutes ago. Most of the comments praise the new feature, while some power users are complaining about the structuring of the links and want the option to disable bookmarks as part of the equation.

Similar threads exist in Mozilla's own community forums, although most quibbles are linked up to Mozilla's knowledge base articles which show how to tweak and edit certain features step-by-step.

There are, in fact, several ways to disable this feature entirely. One way is to follow the instructions on this page, which involves a small tweak to your about:config file. Doing so will disable the drop-down of links completely, but not your auto fill. There's also an add-on extension that mimics the behavior of the address bar found in Firefox 2 with slightly smaller favicons, link text, and sorting.