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Feature request: please allow option of old search bar. (My search workflow is at odds with current search bar).

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This is some user feedback that I hope the developers will take on board.

My #1 reason for preferring Firefox above Chrome was the old search bar that was available up to version 42. Hence, I am stunned that the developers have written it out of the code in versions 43 and 44.

To me, new search bar has a counter-intuitive workflow.

Here is the 'mental workflow' I use when searching the internet:

  1. Decide which search engine I want to use (will it be Wikipedia? Wolfram Alpha? YouTube?)
  2. Click my cursor to choose the appropriate search engine from the drop-down (using my mouse)
  3. Type my search phrase (using my keyboard)
  4. Press enter (using my keyboard)

(This workflow is partially habituated from my decade of using the old Firefox search bar, so it is annoying that the developers are forcing me to break ingrained habits).

Here is the imposed workflow of the new Firefox search bar:

  1. Click my cursor in the search bar (using my mouse)
  2. Type my search phrase (using my keyboard)
  3. Choose which search engine I want to use (will it be Wikipedia? Wolfram Alpha? YouTube?) (using my mouse)
  4. Press enter (using my keyboard)

Note the redundant changes between keyboard and mouse.

When deciding to search for information, the first thing that comes to my mind is "which search engine will be best to find this information?" e.g. I immediately gravitate towards Wolfram Alpha when I know that I want an answer with a maths / physics basis. Or YouTube if know that I want the result to be a video.

After I have decided on the search engine, I then mentally craft my search phrases.

This is the way that my mind works when searching the web, but Firefox's new search bar is at odds with this natural workflow pattern.

Developers: I ask you to please at least give us the OPTION of the old search bar, as with the previous browser.search.showOneOffButtons = false option.

I welcome discussion on this feedback below.

This is some user feedback that I hope the developers will take on board. My #1 reason for preferring Firefox above Chrome was the old search bar that was available up to version 42. Hence, I am stunned that the developers have written it out of the code in versions 43 and 44. To me, new search bar has a counter-intuitive workflow. '''Here is the 'mental workflow' I use when searching the internet:''' # Decide which search engine I want to use (will it be Wikipedia? Wolfram Alpha? YouTube?) # Click my cursor to choose the appropriate search engine from the drop-down ''(using my mouse)'' # Type my search phrase ''(using my keyboard)'' # Press enter ''(using my keyboard)'' ''(This workflow is partially habituated from my decade of using the old Firefox search bar, so it is annoying that the developers are forcing me to break ingrained habits).'' '''Here is the imposed workflow of the new Firefox search bar:''' # Click my cursor in the search bar ''(using my mouse)'' # Type my search phrase ''(using my keyboard)'' # Choose which search engine I want to use (will it be Wikipedia? Wolfram Alpha? YouTube?) ''(using my mouse)'' # Press enter ''(using my keyboard)'' Note the redundant changes between keyboard and mouse. When deciding to search for information, the first thing that comes to my mind is "which search engine will be best to find this information?" e.g. I immediately gravitate towards Wolfram Alpha when I know that I want an answer with a maths / physics basis. Or YouTube if know that I want the result to be a video. After I have decided on the search engine, I then mentally craft my search phrases. This is the way that my mind works when searching the web, but Firefox's new search bar is at odds with this natural workflow pattern. Developers: I ask you to please at least give us the OPTION of the old search bar, as with the previous '''browser.search.showOneOffButtons = false''' option. I welcome discussion on this feedback below.

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the-edmeister
  • Top 25 Contributor
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5395 solutions 40085 answers

The 'new' search bar has been in Firefox since version 34, although there was a preference to allow users to continue using the old scheme until Firefox 43 when the old code was removed. I don't think that Mozilla is going to revert to the old scheme regardless of user feedback at this late date. You'll have to make-do with an add-on to get the old scheme back.

Classic Theme Restorer has an option for the old search bar scheme, along with a ton of other 'retro' features to make Firefox look ike the Firefox 4.0 thru 28.0 versions. Too heavy with 'retro' stuff IMO.

Here is a recently released extension that recreates the old search bar. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/old-search1/ Very good rendition of the Search Bar scheme [IMO] that was in Firefox for many years. It uses the "new" Manage Search Engines ... tab rather than a free-standing small window as before, and the only thing that isn't apparent is how to move a search engine up or down to move it out of 'alpha-sort' order; "click'n'drag" the search engine to where you want it. The old small window had Move Up and Move Down buttons. The Edit Keyword button is gone; but you can double-click under the Keyword field to open a hidden "edit" field to add / edit Search Keywords

The 'new' search bar has been in Firefox since version 34, although there was a preference to allow users to continue using the old scheme until Firefox 43 when the old code was removed. I don't think that Mozilla is going to revert to the old scheme regardless of user feedback at this late date. You'll have to make-do with an add-on to get the old scheme back. Classic Theme Restorer has an option for the old search bar scheme, along with a ton of other 'retro' features to make Firefox look ike the Firefox 4.0 thru 28.0 versions. ''Too heavy with 'retro' stuff IMO.'' Here is a recently released extension that recreates the old search bar. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/old-search1/ Very good rendition of the Search Bar scheme [IMO] that was in Firefox for many years. It uses the "new" Manage Search Engines ... tab rather than a free-standing small window as before, and the only thing that isn't apparent is how to move a search engine up or down to move it out of 'alpha-sort' order; "click'n'drag" the search engine to where you want it. ''The old small window had Move Up and Move Down buttons.'' The Edit Keyword button is gone; but you can double-click under the Keyword field to open a hidden "edit" field to add / edit Search Keywords

Modified by the-edmeister

MarkuPi 0 solutions 1 answers

Helpful Reply

I would like to add a few shortcomings of the new search bar not mentioned before:

  • I cannot see which search engine is currently selected without clicking the search bar to expand it. If search suggestions are active, my search terms are sent out even before and I do not know in advance with who I am sharing that information. There is a privacy problem with this. I am not at all comfortable sharing certain search terms with certain companies. This is especially true if it happens regularly and can be correlated with other information such as my real identity. Even if search suggestions are not active, I always have to expand the search bar to see where I will be sending information before pressing Enter. This is really annoying.
  • I was in the habit of changing my default search engine regularly and therefore it is much more convenient if the last used one becomes the new default.
  • Even when the search bar is expanded, each search engine is shown as an icon only. Some of my searches have identical icons, and some icons I do not remember. So I have to hover over them sequentially to see the engine name.

Given all this and what was previously mentioned, I am really wondering how Mozilla folks would think the new version is better than the old one. What are the advantages?

Sorry, but I cannot help the impression that Mozilla more and more teams up with the big data guys in a mission to blur people's knowledge and control of where their date is being sent. If that is necessary to earn money, it is a pity, but then Firefox loses it's last positive differentiating factor over other browsers.

I would like to add a few shortcomings of the new search bar not mentioned before: * I cannot see which search engine is currently selected without clicking the search bar to expand it. If search suggestions are active, my search terms are sent out even before and I do not know in advance with who I am sharing that information. There is a privacy problem with this. I am not at all comfortable sharing certain search terms with certain companies. This is especially true if it happens regularly and can be correlated with other information such as my real identity. Even if search suggestions are not active, I always have to expand the search bar to see where I will be sending information before pressing Enter. This is really annoying. * I was in the habit of changing my default search engine regularly and therefore it is much more convenient if the last used one becomes the new default. * Even when the search bar is expanded, each search engine is shown as an icon only. Some of my searches have identical icons, and some icons I do not remember. So I have to hover over them sequentially to see the engine name. Given all this and what was previously mentioned, I am really wondering how Mozilla folks would think the new version is better than the old one. What are the advantages? Sorry, but I cannot help the impression that Mozilla more and more teams up with the big data guys in a mission to blur people's knowledge and control of where their date is being sent. If that is necessary to earn money, it is a pity, but then Firefox loses it's last positive differentiating factor over other browsers.