The New Firefox Home Page

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 22, 2012

Mozilla plans to make a bunch of changes in the next two versions of the Firefox web browser, and users who are running either the beta or aurora version of the browser right now get a taste of those changes already.

One of the changes is a new home page. Firefox users should not confuse this page with the homepage that they can set freely in the web browser though. The home page is displayed to new users who install Firefox for the first time on the system, when you enter about:home in the browser's address bar, or automatically when Firefox is configured to load that page on start up.

firefox home page

The new home page displays a Google search form prominently in the center. There does not seem to be an option to modify the search engine at this point in time, but it is likely that add-on developers will find a way to replace it.

Below the search is a link to the latest features of the browser which can be useful to find out what changed after an update.

The bottom toolbar links to often used features of the browser:

  • Bookmarks - Opens the browser's bookmarks manager in a new window
  • History - Opens the history manager in a new window
  • Settings - Loads the preferences
  • Add-ons - Opens the browser's add-on manager in a new tab
  • Downloads - Displays the most recent downloads
  • Sync - Opens Firefox sync to configure data synchronization
  • Restore Previous Session - Option to restore the last browser session

All of these options are accessible elsewhere as well, and it is likely that most advanced users won't find a lot of use in the new home page of the browser. Inexperienced users on the other hand may find it more useful. Especially the option to restore a previous session comes in handy, when they have configured the browser to load the about:home page on new start and not the last session automatically.

What's your impression of this new Firefox feature?


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  1. Aaron said on September 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I like it. OR, I DID like it until Mozilla started rolling out Flash-y looking animated snippets. The Firefox-for-Android advertisement today was very distracting. This drove me to waste half an hour figuring out how to kill it. The answer btw, is buried in comments here:

  2. Anonymous said on April 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Sucks, I want blank back

  3. xx said on March 23, 2012 at 6:28 am

    The new icon sort of reminds me of RockMelt Browser’s icon.

    1. Savita Bhabhi said on March 23, 2012 at 7:25 am

      that’s not FFs’ ( stable version ) new icon . It has been used for FF Aurora version for a long time .

  4. anona said on March 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    I think it’s good one for those who don’t actually know that firefox has addons, sync or the session manager.. Some people just won’t go trough all the menus and settings finding all the possible features. If they don’t know it they won’t look for it.. Now those features are in front of them for easier to access.

    And people who know how to change the default home page won’t use it anyway..

  5. Roman ShaRP said on March 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    My impression is rather negative. I like minimalistic pages, like old Google interface, and this is not that minimalistic.

    But it’s not very negative. Comparing to awful Win 8 CP fish, it is fine.

  6. smaragdus said on March 22, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    With every new release Firefox becomes worse and worse- stability, resource usage, features, customization, gui. Version numbering is insane and ‘Catch-up with the Google’ game is extremely stupid. All versions above 3.6 series are terrible. New releases are buggy as hell. Mozilla has lost its way. Once the best browser is now the worst. I switched to SeaMonkey.

    1. ilev said on March 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      “Version numbering is insane..”

      I prefer the way that Chrome’s update its browser. My Chrome beta has been updates 5 times in 10 days fixing bugs. I think that as the browser is the no.1 used application and the no.1 entry point to Viruses, trojans, rootkits… it should be update on an hourly basis just as an anti-virus application.

  7. virtualguy said on March 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    And, there you go.

  8. Robert Palmar said on March 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    This is what $300 million dollars from Google can do.

  9. ilev said on March 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Doesn’t the new beta support Firefox auto-update ?

    What ever happened to Firefox Bing ?

    1. ilev said on March 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      p.s I meant silent updates.

  10. WebHybrid said on March 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    It’s just a great big menu. Useless other than as advertising for Google and some inexplicable drive to resemble Opera.

    But it’s OK with me as long as I can permanently disable it (which I have previously read will be possible – Martin, please instruct us when the time comes).

    Except this is not OK: thumbs down for calling it ‘Home Page’ as if we are supposed to retain the distinction between that and ‘homepage.’

    It reminds me of the ever changing names for Awesome Bar, AwesomeBar, Location Bar, URL bar, etc. etc. over the years. Drive us all crazy…

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      I agree, and the name changing gets even worse if you look at all browsers Many seem to have their own names for the same thing. For me, it will always be the address bar. You can change the home page easily either by adding your own homepage to Firefox under Options > General, or if you prefer no page, enter about:blank instead.

      1. WebHybrid said on March 23, 2012 at 3:46 am

        “You can change the home page easily either by adding your own homepage to Firefox under Options > General, or if you prefer no page, enter about:blank instead.”

        See… the confusion starts right here. By change the “home page” I guess you meant homepage (in the article’s terminology), not this new thing.

        I suppose my request is premature since the version isn’t out yet in full release, but I want specific instruction on how to GET RID of this new thing – not add some more pages or use a blank. Use my own chosen homepage(s) ONLY…

  11. Nebulus said on March 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    More lameness from Firefox, now with the added help from Google :( While it might be ok for a inexperienced user to have quick access to a search engine when a new page is opened, it is not ok for everybody. The thing that really bothers me about Firefox and prompted my first line is that they try really hard to take away choice from the users (see silent updates without possibility to disable it,or adding a single choice search engine for Firefox home page…)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      It is not displayed on a new tab page, only on the “home page”, which Firefox defaults to when the browser opens. But you can change that easily.

  12. Savita Bhabhi said on March 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Some things are better left unchanged. UI in 3.x.x versions is better.

    1. Jessica said on May 3, 2017 at 4:15 am

      You know sometimes simple is beautiful. Back to basics is awesome.

  13. Bart Degryse said on March 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    The disign is ugly, but I think the idea is good, especially for the inexperienced users.

    1. Bart Degryse said on March 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      The spelling error is ugly too. Please read design.

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