Monday, August 18, 2008


The best feature of Firefox 3

When Firefox 3.0 was released on 17 June, they set it up with a plan to break the record for downloads in a single 24-hour period, and they succeeded:

Thanks to the support of the always amazing Mozilla community, we now hold a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours. From 18:16 UTC on June 17, 2008 to 18:16 UTC on June 18, 2008, 8,002,530 people downloaded Firefox 3 and are now enjoying a safer, smarter and better Web.

Some of the new features touted for version 3 include better performance; a number of security improvements, including “web site ID”; an improved session manager that’ll automatically restore the tabs you had open in a previous session (this was available before, through extensions); and a convenient “zoom” feature that remembers that you’ve zoomed in or out on a particular site (very handy when a site thinks you’ll appreciate their use of a smaller font).

But here’s my favourite new feature: the smart location bar.

It’s not just an autocompletion thing, like every browser’s had for years. They just match the text you type to URLs. There’s way more than that here. You type something, and it searches for it in your browser history and your bookmarks, matching titles as well as URLs, and also matching user-defined tags. It’s really great! Things that I had to sift through the browser history for, or do fresh Google searches for, now just pop right up.

Suppose I wanted to get back to the article that I read the other day about a judge’s decision about guns at the Atlanta airport, but I hadn’t bookmarked it (and suppose I had’t put it in these pages, either). I can just type something like “airport guns” in the address bar. Or “atlanta airport”, or “atlanta guns”, or whatever... and a short list of things immediately appears under the address bar, one of which is the link to the article I’m looking for. I can’t tell you how much time this feature has saved me, in the eight weeks it’s been available.

If you’re not using Firefox 3 yet, that one feature is reason enough to switch to it!

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