Firefox may soon display the search term instead of the Search Engine's address
Firefox Nightly users may have noticed a change regarding searches made in the development browser. When users type search terms in Firefox's address bar, Firefox displays the typed in search term instead of the web address of the search engine.
The change applies to the default search engine of the browser only and only if searches are started from the browser's address bar. The visit of a search engine and the entering of search terms on the search engine's page shows the correct address in the address bar of the browser.
Mozilla has been working on persistent search terms in the Firefox address bar for a while. The change of the default behavior in Firefox Nightly was made to get "early feedback" on the implementation.
The feature is turned on by default in Firefox Nightly, but there is a new Search related setting to restore the classic behavior.
Restore the classic search experience in Firefox
Here is a step-by-step guide to restore the classic search behavior in Firefox:
- Load about:preferences#search in the Firefox address bar.
- Locate the Search Bar group of settings at the top.
- Remove the checkmark from "Show search terms instead of URL on default search engine results page".
Firefox should display the URL of the default search engine again when searches are run from the browser's address bar.
Firefox users may also set the preference browser.urlbar.showSearchTerms.enabled to FALSE on about:config; this turns off the displaying of search terms in the browser's address bar as well.
It is unclear if the change will be implemented in Firefox Stable, considering that Mozilla is trying to get feedback with the enabling in Firefox Nightly.
Why is Mozilla considering the change? The meta bug does not tell and the linked Mozilla Hub page is not accessible publicly. I do not see any gain in the change, especially since the search term is displayed on the search engine's website prominently. The display of the search term instead of the address of the search engine has at least two negative aspects: users can't verify the address anymore using the address bar, as it is no longer displayed. Additionally, it is no longer possible to copy the address or edit it.
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