AwesomeBar HD: Find what you want

Ed Lee

Please download Firefox 4 to watch the WebM video.

Full-size video (1:30) download: webm (17mb)


AwesomeBar HD spins-off from the Home Dash project to focus experiments on a combined location and search bar with a Mozilla twist. This means placing you, as a user, first and respecting your privacy, so unlike other browsers, the combined input will not send every letter you type to a remote server.

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.

When you do want to find pages from the rest of the internet, you can explicitly tell Firefox to search the web. You do this by first typing “search: ” into the location bar. Alternatively, instead of clicking on “Go to a website”, you can save some typing by directly clicking “search the web”, and you’re ready to search!

Many websites today provide specialized searches that focus on a particular category, and Firefox can now quickly get you to those rich search results by showing categories directly in the location bar. Now you can click “books” to find something to read, “movies” to watch or “references” to learn more about the open source browser made by a non-profit organization.

So far I’ve demoed clicking a category first then typing in a topic, but AwesomeBar HD supports several different ways to find what you want. You can instead type what you want first and then click a category. Or if you change your mind, you can click another one. Or if you don’t like the default, just select a different choice, and Firefox will remember that for next time.

Try out AwesomeBar HD on Firefox 4! You don’t even need to restart Firefox to begin playing around. The Prospector team is very interested in hearing back from you, so please install it for a bit, and let us know what you think:

  • Are you able to easily browse to websites that you normally go to?
  • Do you care that you can return to your history without someone else knowing?
  • Does the category list of text and clicking behavior work for you?

Selecting a search category to find only books

For those that have been following along with Home Dash, we just passed the 3-month mark, and there’s already been 10 versions! One common issue though is because Home Dash changed the whole interface, people trying it out got confused pretty quickly, so the Prospector team has decided to spin off smaller experiments that focus on one aspect at a time. The first one we have is AwesomeBar HD.

As usual, you can check out the code on GitHub and submit issues or suggestions if you have any!

- Ed Lee, aka Mr. AwesomeBar, on behalf of the Prospector team
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