Mozilla began testing a redesigned search interface for its Firefox web browser back in 2014. The big change was the addition of search engine icons in the interface that allowed you to quickly switch to another installed search engine without leaving the interface.
While you could so something similar before, for instance by assigning keywords to search engines to search on them from the address bar directly, it made the option more prominent in the browser and improved it for touch devices as well.
The organization implemented a similar search interface on Firefox's new tab page.
Firefox users who disliked the change could set browser.search.showOneOffButtons to false on the about:config page to undo it. This preference however will be removed in future versions of Firefox which leaves add-ons to restore the original search interface once that happens.
Mozilla plans to improve the dedicated search field in Firefox 43 by adding right-click context menu options to listed search engines.
When you right-click one of the search engines in Firefox 43 and later, you get the following two options:
The first option loads the search results in a new tab in Firefox instead of the current tab. Options to do that were available previously as well, as you could hold down Ctrl before clicking to launch searches in a new tab from the search field.
Another option is to set the preference browser.search.openintab to true if you want searches to always open in a new tab in Firefox.
The second option allows you to quickly change the default search provider in Firefox. You had to click on "change search settings" previously to change the search provider.
Doing so opens the Search preferences in Firefox where you can set a new default provider, enable or disable search suggestions, and perform other search related configurations.
The change to the search interface is not a major one but it may improve the handling of it for some users who make use of it.
Especially the option to change the default search provider quickly can be useful as it is not only used in Firefox's search field but also in the browser's address bar. (via Sören Hentzschel)
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