Our first experiment in the Prospector series of search experiments helps you get back to websites you have visited by building on top of the Awesome Bar feature of Firefox.
You might have noticed that Firefox helps you get to the websites you love with intelligent suggestions from your browsing history and bookmarks. Firefox finds previously visited sites even if you can’t remember the Web address because the Awesome Bar leverages words in the site title. Additionally, the more you use Firefox, the faster the Awesome Bar can get you to the websites you want with little effort.
We are looking at how Firefox can more intelligently offer search suggestions in this inital Prospector experiment, Speak Words.
Instead of just showing a list of sites as you type in the Awesome Bar, with this Prospector experiment, Firefox will automatically fill in suggestions for the rest of the word and give you results based on your recent browsing. For example, if you are typing “in” for “investing,” Firefox will fill in the rest of the word and give you sites related to “investing” instead of any site that happens to match “in.” But remember that this smart filling is based on your personal browsing history, so Firefox might fill in the rest of the word as “internet” or “inception” if those words are relevant to you.
Because Firefox will complete the rest of the word for you, you save time by just hitting enter to accept the suggested results and not need to type any more letters. In fact, for the words that you frequently type in the Awesome Bar, you will likely only need to type just the first letter and be ready to go where you want. This experiment also saves you time by having the top result pre-selected to visit by hitting enter, instead of needing to click on the result to visit the site.
With these two time-saving features, all you need to do to get to a website is to type a single letter in the location bar, hit <Return> and you’re done!
The example above shows that just a single letter “r” is needed to start catching up on the latest news in Google Reader, instead of typing “www.google.com/reader” or clicking on a series of links to get to the same destination.
To participate in this experiment, you can install Speak Words. This add-on is compatible with Firefox 4 Beta and does not require a browser restart to use. Just install and start typing in the Awesome Bar to start navigating the web faster.
Let us know what you think about this experiment. Please leave comments in this post to share feedback or if you have ideas to help Firefox streamline alternate methods of getting to sites that you frequent. You can also follow the latest developments with the Prospector GitHub community.