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Firefox’s AwesomeBar Getting Better Than Chrome’s OmniBox!

mozilla labs firefox prospector

After the release of Firefox 4 which just changed the stats of browser war with its awesome features, Mozilla never stopped working hard on future of Firefox browser! Well we must agree, Firefox 4 got back Mozilla into browsers war and going strong day by day.

During the development phase of Firefox 4, Mozilla labs started new channel for experiments which they named as Mozilla Prospector.

Prospector is a series of experiments from Mozilla Labs focused on analyzing, experimenting and prototyping improvements on how you search and discover content with Firefox. We’re focusing on three main areas: websites you have visited, tabs you are currently viewing, and pages you haven’t visited yet.

As Mozilla says, Prospector mainly focuses on address bar which actually does the above mention areas. And now, here come a question! Is Mozilla actually planning for something like OmniBox in Google Chrome?

Awesomeness Inside AwesomeBar HD:

firefox awesomebar hd

Welcome to AwesomeBar HD! AwesomeBar HD is an add-on for Mozilla Firefox which turns the address bar to something more and something awesome. AwesomeBar was first released for testing on October 27, 2010.

Mozilla first started imitating Google by suggestion for the letter typed. Mozilla found it very useful and added this feature to Firefox 4. Recently AwesomeBar HD got an update and user can “Find what you want” at their finger tips!

Following are the points which show AwesomeBar HD can do something more and better than OmniBox on Chrome can do.

AwesomeBar HD project focuses on experiments on a combined location and search bar with a Mozilla twist. Unlike other browsers, the combined input will not send every letter you type to a remote server.

When user starts typing on AwesomeBar, Firefox will only look through its local history without any network activity. And results shown will be dependent on how frequently and how recently the page has been used.

Download AwesomeBar HD

Following are the top options available in AwesomeBar HD,

firefox awesomebar search on web

  • Search: users can search through AwesomeBar by typing “search:” and followed by keyword they want to search. AwesomeBar currently allows Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines.
  • Books: if you are a book addict then AwesomeBar provides a shortcut to find them with ease! User can search books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Google Books.
  • Maps: user can search a restaurant or any address through AwesomeBar HD directly by top three providers like Google Maps, Bing Maps and MapQuest.
  • Pictures: search for any image on Flickr, Google Images and Bing Images by just typing “pictures:” and image keyword.
  • Videos: search for your favourite video from YouTube, Bing Video and Flickr Video.
  • People: This is an awesome feature added by Mozilla. Now user can search someone very easily on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Awesome! Isn’t it?

firefox awesomebar book search

These are the not only options, AwesomeBar also has shortcuts for,

  • Food: Yelp, Google Places, Menuism
  • Movies: Internet Movie Database, Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango
  • Music: Pandora, Amazon Music, Songza
  • News: CNN, NY Times, BBC
  • References: Wikipedia,,
  • Shopping: Amazon, eBay, Google
  • Sports: ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, Sports Illustrated
  • Weather: Weather Channel, Weather Underground,

Tech Link: First Look At Firefox 5 – A Site Specific Browser!

For those who don’t like to use their mouse for clicking on the options always, Mozilla has also got some useful keyboard shortcuts as well.

  • Ctrl-L focuses the location bar with the URL selected — ready to copy, edit or replace
  • Ctrl-K pre-fills with “search: ” so you can search the web just like from the search bar
  • Ctrl-T + tab opens a new tab and activates search (as if you tabbed to the search bar)
  • Easy to search like “boo: book name” is enough to search for books. No need to type full work “book:” or “picture:” for any search.

firefox awesomebar catagories search

Notice that “boo:” is good enough to activate the books category (it turned green), so if you wanted, you could just type “b:” to get books as well.

What Awesomeness Is Still Missing?

  • One related side effect of defaulting to opening new tabs is that replacing pinned app tabs is a bit more difficult. You actually can’t change the URL of an app tab with AwesomeBar HD installed because the URL will open up in a new tab. So for now, you’ll have to remove the app tab or create a new one.
  • Instant search will be more useful if we stop thinking about server hit every time.

The Prospector team is very interested in hearing back from you, so please install it for a bit, and let Mozilla lab know what you think. The Awesomebar HD is strictly an experiment so there’s no need to worry, or rejoice, just yet, it’s probably going to be a while before changes like this end up in Firefox.

We may expect to get these features in Firefox 5, Firefox 6 or Firefox 7 which are expected to b available by this year end!

Are you able to easily browse to websites that you normally go to? Do you care that you can return to your history without someone else knowing? Does the category list of text and clicking behaviour work for you? Share your experience with us 🙂

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