Firefox 3.1 Introduces More Address Bar Improvements

This article was written on July 28, 2008 by CyberNet.

arrow Windows Win; Mac Mac; Linux Linux arrow
Mozilla is working hard on Firefox 3.1 which is slated for release later this year, and with it will come several improvements. For starters it will include a Control+Tab replacement that makes switching between tabs a bit more fancy. It will also come packed with numerous improvements to the address bar to help please those of you who don’t like how it currently handles itself.

What they’ve added in the current nightly releases is a way to restrict what kind of results are shown in the address bar by using customizable characters. I’ve highlighted the corresponding options in the about:config that I’m about to talk about:

firefox 3 urlbar config.png

So what do these five new options do for you? I’ve got several screenshots below that show exactly how they work, but here is an overview of what each one does:

  • browser.urlbar.match.title: Returns results that match the text in the title.
  • browser.urlbar.match.url: Returns results that match the text in the URL.
  • browser.urlbar.restrict.bookmark: Returns only results that are from the bookmarks.
  • browser.urlbar.restrict.history: Returns only results that are from the browser’s history.
  • browser.urlbar.restrict.tag: Returns only results that have been tagged.

How do these work? It’s actually pretty simple. Just include the character anywhere in the address bar (separated by spaces) to have it restrict what results are displayed. Here’s an example of using the asterisk to only return results that are bookmarks:

firefox 3 restrict bookmarks.png

Including a pound sign in the address bar will only have it scan the titles of results, thereby ignoring the URL when searching:

firefox 3 restrict titles.png

Mix and match baby! This example will only search the titles of your bookmarks for matches since I’ve included both the pound sign and asterisk:

firefox 3 restrict title bookmark.png

How does all of this benefit those of you who hate bookmarks/tags showing up in the results? Hop on over to the about:config, find the browser.urlbar.restrict.history value, and delete the character that is assigned to the value. What that does is tell Firefox to only return history results when no special character is recognized. Then delete the browser.urlbar.match.url character while you’re at it if you don’t want the page titles being searched (meaning only URL’s will be scanned). You might have to give the browser time for the changes to take affect since some of your searches get cached due to performance reasons.

Hopefully this will make you a bit more fond of the address bar introduced in Firefox 3. Don’t forget to grab CyberSearch to supercharge the address bar even more, and the latest release of the extension adds Firefox 3.1 compatibility.

P.S. We’ve got a rather big update for CyberSearch coming up in the next few days. A HUGE thanks goes out to everyone that has been giving CyberSearch stellar reviews! Our extension currently has a 4.60/5.00 rating from 33 reviews. That’s awesome!

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

CyberNotes Special: Introducing CyberSearch 1.0

This article was written on July 31, 2008 by CyberNet.

CyberSearch Special

cybersearch 1 logo.pngIt’s been exactly one month since I uploaded the first version of CyberSearch to Mozilla’s site, and since then we’ve had 4,000 downloads of the extension. What’s really kept us going are all of you who have expressed how valuable the extension has become, and we’re now averaging 4.60/5.00 stars from the 34 reviews we’ve received thus far. As a way to show our appreciation to those leaving reviews we’ve placed quotes from some of them on the CyberSearch homepage.

My hope is that one day CyberSearch will make it out of the Mozilla Sandbox so that more people can enjoy it, but I know the editors are still rather swamped. Sometimes my impatience gets the best of me though. ;)

To celebrate our one month anniversary I’ve decided to release a rather major upgrade that hopefully includes the features many of you have been looking for. We’ve also cleaned up the code, fixed some bugs, and much more. And so we are proud to unleash CyberSearch 1.0…

–Import/Manage Built-in Keywords–

This is by far one of our most requested features. As many of you know Firefox 3 includes a simple interface for managing all of your search keywords in one central location. This is normally done by clicking on the drop-down menu in the search box, and then selecting the Manage Search Engines option.

What people have been wanting us to do is provide a way to tie our keyword system together with the one that is built-in to Firefox. Unfortunately this is rather difficult since the two keyword systems are completely different in the way they work, but we’ve come up with the best solution we could.

In the CyberSearch settings there is now a new section on the Keywords tab dedicated towards importing and managing the keywords you’ve customized in the browser. If you choose to import keywords it will scan through the search engine keywords (not those in your bookmarks), and it will automatically add any of them that you haven’t already assigned a keyword for. When it’s all done it will notify you of how many keywords couldn’t be imported because they were duplicates.

cybersearch keywords.png

By ignoring duplicates this means that you can reimport the keywords from the browser as more are added, and you don’t have to worry about it doubling up on some of the existing keywords.

How does it determine the URL to search? We tried to put some intelligence behind this, but it’s not going to be perfect every time. What we’ll do is truncate off the end of the URL so that there isn’t all of the garbage. For example, a Wikipedia search URL normally looks like this:

After it gets imported it will look like this:

In that example it works out as it should, and will pull in search results from Wikipedia as the user would expect. However, you should probably go back through the imported entries to make sure the various sites are searching the URL you want.

One thing that I want to make clear is that this doesn’t import any of your keywords from your bookmarks. The Add to Search Bar extension makes it a bit easier to add any search box to the search bar, and so I recommend installing that if you decide to transition your bookmark keywords over to the search bar keywords.

–Image Search Previews–

We’ve also enhanced image searches per your request! When creating a keyword for performing a Google Image search I recommend leaving the icon URL field blank. When you do this it will use a thumbnail of each resulting image as the icon:

firefox image search.png

We’ve also decided to place the dimensions of each image at the end of the title in brackets so that you know whether the image you’re opening is small or large.

Existing CyberSearch users: You will need to go back and clear out the icon URL for any Google Image search entries in the settings before seeing the previews.

–Auto Retrieval of Site Icons–

Now when performing a Google Web, Blog, or News search it’s possible to have it show each site’s icon next to their results. What it does is look for the “favicon.ico” file at the root of each domain, and then displays it accordingly:

cybersearch auto icons.png

The catch? Not all sites put the favicon.ico file at the root of their domain, which means no icon will appear next to those results. More often than not it is able to find the icon at the root of the domain though.

To enable this feature just leave the icon URL field blank when creating a keyword for a Google Web, Blog, or News search.

Existing CyberSearch users: You will need to go back and clear out the icon URL in the settings (for the supported search types listed above) before seeing the automatic icons.

–Pull Up the Results Page–

The very last entry for every type of Google search will now is now designated to taking you to the corresponding Google page. In the event that no results from Google can be returned it will be the only option shown to you:

cybersearch go to results.png

The reason we show this even when Google returns no results is that going to the actual Google page might be able to provide you with “did you mean…” results.

–Quick Add the Current Site-

The odds are probably pretty good that if you’re opening up the CyberSearch options that your intentions are to add a keyword for the site you’re currently on. If that’s the case we’re making it a lot easier! First off when you open up the CyberSearch options it will automatically grab the address of the site you’re currently viewing, and will insert that into the “new keyword” form.

Still not fast enough for you? There’s now an “Add to CyberSearch” option located right under your nose in the context menu (a.k.a. right-click menu):


Clicking that will pull up the CyberSearch options with the current site’s URL automatically filled in. Talk about speedy!

–Better Identification–

Have you noticed anything else new in several of the screenshots above? We’ve made it easier to identify results produced by the extension by placing the CyberSearch logo in the upper-right corner of each entry:

cybersearch identification.png

UPDATE: Before reading on you should know that we’ve added the background customization option back to the CyberSearch extension. We also improved how it works!

As a tradeoff we’ve removed the feature in the options that lets you customize the background color of the results. The new icon does the job of making the CyberSearch results distinguishable from the rest, and at the same time it will look nice on all of the themes out-of-the-box. Not only that but I just wasn’t happy with the way I implemented the option.

Don’t worry, if you’re heart is set on customizing the background color of the results you can use Stylish. Here are the instructions needed to change the background color in Stylish:

  1. Install Stylish
  2. In Firefox go to Tools -> Stylish -> Write Style -> Blank Style
  3. Give it a description, such as CyberSearch
  4. Copy and paste the following code into the box, replacing EEEEEE with the hex color you want:
    richlistitem[type ~= 'cybersearch'] > hbox {


cybersearch background color-2.png

After that all you have to do is save the style, and you should see the results immediately without having to restart the browser. If you need help coming up with the 6-character hex value for a specific color you may find this site to be of assistance.

–And More–

Still want more? This release also includes a handful of bug fixes (all reproducible bugs up until now have been fixed), performance improvements, and cleaner code. What more could you ask for? Oh, okay. You twisted my arm. I’ll throw in one more minor feature.

When working with the keyword menu next to the keywords we also show what type of search corresponds to that particular keyword:

cybersearch keyword menu.png

For those of you who already have CyberSearch installed you should be prompted shortly (if you haven’t been already) to install the updated version. New and existing users alike can install the new version from the Mozilla Add-ons site, or you can watch a video demonstration I previously made when the extension launched.


Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

Shareaholic Supports More Web 2.0 Sites

This article was written on January 21, 2008 by CyberNet.

shareaholic Shareaholic is an add-on for Firefox that’s all about helping you bookmark and share the content you come across on the web.   Up until recently, they only offered support for Firefox 2.0 and Flock. With their newest release, there’s now support for Firefox 3, and they’ve added a bunch more Web 2.0 sites where people can share content.

The list of supported sites continues to get longer, especially when you compare it to the list they initially supported which consisted of only five sites. Now you can bookmark and submit content to the following sites using the Shareaholic bookmarking tool:

  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Ma.gnolia
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Truemors
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Mixx
  • Simpy
  • FriendFeed

Shareaholic also serves the purpose of giving you an idea of how popular a web page is by letting you know how many times the web page you’re on has been dugg or saved to social site This helpful sharing extension launched several months ago and so far it’s received rave reviews. Shareaholic says that they will be adding even more sites in the future which will help attract even more users.

Download Shareaholic here.

Source: Mashable

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

Mozilla Firefox 3 Alpha 2 Released!

This article was written on February 07, 2007 by CyberNet.


Mozilla has just released the English version of Firefox 3 Alpha 2 (codename Gran Paradiso) and it is the first release of Firefox that passes the Acid 2 test. Well, it is still a pre-release version but it is on its way to be the final version that will be released later this year. If you haven’t heard by this point, the big thing with Firefox 3 is replacing the rendering engine with Cairo…which has improved a lot of things including how it scales images. Here is a list of what’s new from the Firefox 3 Alpha 2 release notes:

  • Core layout code affecting the calculation of widths in tables, floats, and absolutely positioned elements has been rewritten. The code for handling incremental layout of pages (as data arrives over the network, as images load, or as dynamic changes are made) has also been changed extensively.
  • Resolved remaining issues with ACID2 test compliance.
  • Support for the Web Apps 1.0 API for changing stylesheets.
  • The inline-block and inline-table values of CSS 2.1’s display property are now implemented.
  • XML documents can now be rendered as they’re downloaded instead of only after the full document has been loaded.
  • Greatly improved Mac widgets support since Alpha 1.
  • Improvements in the Cairo graphics layer.

I’m definitely excited about this release, but I just can’t bring myself to switch to this as my primary browser at this point because my GMarks extension doesn’t work. I know that I could just use the built-in bookmarking system but it is always nice to have my bookmarks available wherever I go. I’ve contacted the extension developer and he is currently looking into it, and once that gets fixed I plan on permanently switching over.

So what does the future look like for Firefox 3? As of right now the Alpha releases will be every 6 weeks or so, but they do not mention exactly how many of them they plan on doing. That puts us at the End of March before we see the next Alpha release and my estimation for the final release date is sometime this summer (probably the June/July timeframe). It will definitely be fun to see what the future has in store for us!

Note: In case anyone is wondering Places has not been put back in yet.

Portable Firefox 3 Alpha 2 for Windows
Windows: Gran Paradiso Alpha 2 exe
Mac OS X: Gran Paradiso Alpha 2 dmg
Linux: Gran Paradiso Alpha 2 tar.gz

Thanks to natmaster for the tip!

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

Mozilla Looks at Graphical Keyboard User Interfaces

This article was written on July 06, 2007 by CyberNet.

Firefox Tab Switching
Click to Enlarge

Alex Faaborg has done several Firefox mockups in the past that we have covered (bookmarking, notifications, and history). He often highlights features that would make the browser more usable, and I occasionally feel myself longing for what he posts. This time around he posted some ideas of what it might look like to bring the keyboard to life.

The ideas that he came up with combine the power of the keyboard with the pleasure of a user interface. For starters there is the tab-switching mechanism (Ctrl+Tab) which currently has no sort of interface whatsoever. A mockup of what could be implemented is posted above, with a filter box to quickly find the page that you’re looking for. A similar interface would also be used for flipping through your browser’s website history.

Firefox Search SwitchingThe other thing that he designed is awesome…a quick way to search sites as well as your bookmarks. The mockup is pictured to the right, and as Alex pointed out there are currently a lot of inefficiencies in searching through your bookmarks. This design hopes to conquer those problems.

So are we going to be seeing this in Firefox 3? Nope, these mockups were made just to demonstrate the power of a command line interface when it is tied with an user interface. Here’s what Alex says about the future of this idea:

Please note that these are all only conceptual mockups, and we currently have no official plans to implement these features for Firefox 3 (although, we may at some point release a prototype extension through Mozilla Labs).

Just because the command line predated the graphical user interface doesn’t mean interfaces based on windows, icons, menus and pointers are always superior to interfaces based around using the keyboard for input.

It’s both fun and exciting to see such mockups come out of the Mozilla labs, although many of them seem to be more for show and tell. What really matters is how well they are able to implement these cool features if they ever get to that point.

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

Firefox 3.0 RC3 Fixes Critical Mac Bug

This article was written on June 11, 2008 by CyberNet.

firefox mac-1.pngIt looked like Mozilla was ready to ship Firefox 3 with the last Release Candidate, but a critical bug surfaced that they couldn’t ignore. So Mozilla is rushing out a Firefox 3 RC3 that fixes only this one bug, and only Mac OS X users need to make the upgrade. Firefox 3 RC3 for both Windows and Linux are the same as Firefox 3 RC2.

It turns out that the bug has to do with the recent update Apple issued to their operating system. For that reason you have to be running Mac OS X 10.5.3 in order to experience the problem, and even still there is no guarantee that it will happen to you. Here are the steps one user said they could take to reproduce the problem:

  1. Delete the Firefox profile folder located at: ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox
  2. Start Firefox
  3. Close Firefox
  4. Delete the Firefox profile folder (again) located at: ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox
  5. Start Firefox, and after a few seconds it will hang

The problem is also said to affect users of Firefox, and the fix has already been prepared for Firefox which is slated for release on June 24th. The release of Firefox 3.0 is still on track for June 2008.

Mac users can download the latest Firefox 3 RC3 by selecting their language below. Remember, there’s no need for Windows and Linux users to download this because it’s exactly the same as Firefox 3 RC2.

[via Mozilla Links]
Thanks for the tip Omar!

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

Confirmed: Mozilla Sets World Record with Firefox 3 Downloads

This article was written on July 02, 2008 by CyberNet.

firefox guinness world record.pngAbout two weeks ago Mozilla made an attempt at a Guinness World Record shooting for the most number of downloads for an application in a 24-hour period. They managed to do it with Firefox 3, and the official number was 8,002,530 downloads! That’s about three million more than what Mozilla was hoping for, and six million more than Firefox 2 was downloaded in the first 24-hours. I think it goes without saying that they were successful.

The Spread Firefox site currently says that there have been more than 28 million downloads of the open source browser, and there are 160 million active users:

Thanks to the support of the always amazing Mozilla community, we now hold a Guinness World Record for the most software downloaded in 24 hours. On June 18, 2008 8,002,530 people downloaded Firefox 3 and are now enjoying a safer, smarter and better Web.

Ever since Firefox was launched in 2004 we’ve relied on our community to help us spread the word, and thanks to projects including crop circles, newspaper ads, giant stickers, videos, blogs and more we now have 160 million+ users in more than 230 countries.

I’ve had at least a dozen people ask me how many downloads Mozilla needed to set the record, and the short answer is that there was no record like this that had ever existed. So they would have probably made it regardless of whether it was 1 million or 8 million. What matters now is whether they will make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Either way Mozilla got what they wanted out of the record attempt, and that was to spread the word about the browser. Here we sit 28 million downloads later, and I don’t think there is much doubt that they succeeded in getting the word out about the new release.

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

Where is the Browser Market Headed?

This article was written on December 16, 2008 by CyberNet.

firefox chrome ie.pngThere has been more talk about web browsers in the last few weeks than any time I can remember in the past. Google Chrome came out of the Beta phase, Opera unveiled the first Alpha release of version 10, Internet Explorer 8 is suspected to have a 3rd Beta coming in the next month, and Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 was just unveiled. This is becoming a hugely competitive market, and it’s made me wonder whether Mozilla will be able to hold their ground.

Taking a look at Firefox 3.1 I’ve noticed that some great features have been added to the browser, but will it be enough to retain and attract new users? A lot of my friends have already jumped ship to Google Chrome because it has just the right features without overdoing it. Once Chrome supports extensions like Firefox does, which is supposed to be soon, I’m sure Mozilla will be in for a rude awakening as they lose more of their users.

Is Mozilla at risk more than others? I believe so. Firefox users show that they’ve been willing to switch browsers once in order to find something that better fits their needs. For that reason I feel that initially Google Chrome’s marketshare will be eating away at Firefox’s, but it could be another story if Google follows through on their plan to have their browser ship on some new computers like they already do for some of their other software. Doing that would surely lay down the gauntlet for the competition… especially for those browsers who have been relying heavily on word-of-mouth.

Is Firefox 3.1 going to be enough to keep you a faithful Mozilla user? Remember the Ctrl+Tab switcher that Mozilla had in earlier releases? After receiving some negative feedback Mozilla decided to yank that feature out of the browser, and I think that might be the right call. I thought it was kinda nice to have, but I heard more complaints than praises about it. That’s a good sign that they are definitely listening to their users, but what about the other features they are including:

  • Private browsing mode
  • Enhanced session recovery – after the browser crashes you can select which tabs you want to restore
  • Some support for operating system sounds
  • Selective results in the address bar using symbols [read more]
  • Tab detaching
  • Improved performance
  • Better support for the Acid 3 test

I feel that Mozilla is trying to keep up with some of the other browsers as well now. For example, the private browsing mode was originally said to be pushed back again, but once Google Chrome came out Mozilla seemed to think it was a higher priority. They also added a tab detaching feature similar to that of Chrome, and it’s one thing I truly wish I could disable. I find myself detaching tabs by accident all of the time, and it’s a pain since they will then open in a new window when that happens.

Personally I’ve been a huge fan of Firefox since before version 1.0, but I’m happy to see all of the competition they are getting. Firefox has been pushing Internet Explorer to rethink their browser for years now, and Microsoft now pays more attention to how they can make their browser better for their users. I think Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera are doing the same thing as Firefox by making it more important than ever to come out with useful and innovative features.

So where do you think the browser market is headed? Are we looking at one browser that will take the crown, or will we never see one dominate like Internet Explorer once did?

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

Invalid File Hash When Installing a Firefox Extension

This article was written on July 05, 2008 by CyberNet.

firefox add-ons.jpgEver since we launched the CyberSearch extension I’ve been getting a ton of emails with recommendations on what I can do to make it better, and alongside those emails are also a few dozen from people who are having troubles trying to install it. What happens to them, and I’ve had this happen to me before, is they are prompted with this warning when trying to install the extension:

Firefox could not install the file at [URL] because: Invalid file hash (possible download corruption) -261

Believe it or not this has been a known problem for quite some time, and there are a couple of different things you can try to circumvent the problem.

  1. Clear your cache. Go to Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> Network / Offline Storage -> Clear Now and then try reinstalling the extension.
  2. Enable third-party cookies. A few commenters (thanks Clark!) have pointed out that enabling third-party cookies in Firefox is also something you should do to get around the error message. To do this go to Tools -> Options -> Privacy and check the Accept third-party cookies box.
  3. Manually install the extension. The easiest way to do this is to just download the extension in another browser, and then drag the downloaded file into the Firefox window. This should initiate the installation process.
  4. Suspend ThreatFire. I’m adding this one to the list because several of our commenters (thanks Sunny!) have pointed out that ThreatFire could be one of the reasons that extensions won’t install. Temporarily suspending ThreatFire should solve the problem.
  5. Temporarily disable your antivirus. When all else fails the culprit could be that your antivirus application is preventing the installation of the extension. This is kind of a last resort, and not something that I really recommend doing.

Again, I apologize for those of you having issues installing the extension, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Once we manage to get enough (hopefully positive) reviews of the extension we will be able to get CyberSearch out of the experimental stage. From what I’ve read after that happens the “invalid file hash” errors shouldn’t really happen anymore. So if you’ve got a spare second go drop by the Mozilla site and leave a review for our extension.

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts:

CyberNotes: Firefox 3 Review

This article was written on June 18, 2008 by CyberNet.

Web Browser Wednesday

It’s been a year and a half since Mozilla shipped Firefox 3 Alpha 1, and what we saw initially wasn’t very breathtaking. For this first milestone release Mozilla focused on backend improvements that would, in the long run, make the browser a better competitor in a world that is largely dominated by Internet Explorer. Fast forward to the final release of Firefox 3 yesterday and we’ve got ourselves a rich browser that I believe Firefox users will embrace with open arms.

Firefox 3 has its sights set on Internet Explorer as it comes barreling through with over 15,000 updates. There have been enhancements to performance, stability, rendering, security, bookmarking, and much more that makes this the best version of Firefox yet. For the first time we’re going to list out all of Firefox 3′s best features for those of you who are jumping on the bandwagon for the very first time, and we’ll even take a brief look at the browser’s performance.

firefox 3 cybernet review.png

–Table of Contents–

In this article we’re focusing on several different aspects of the Firefox 3 browser, and we thought it might be easier for you to navigate if you had a table of contents. Here are the main topics that we’re going to cover:

  1. Themes
  2. Performance
  3. Security
  4. Usability
  5. Developers
  6. Conclusion


One of the most frequently discussed aspects of Firefox 3 is the fact that it ships with a handful of different themes that are all customized to the operating system you’re using. They’ve got one for Vista, Linux (varies depending on distribution used), Mac, and Windows XP. Each one focuses on trying to make the browser appear as though it was designed specifically for that operating system. There is, of course, some debate as to whether Mozilla succeeded in doing so.

Firefox 3 themes, from top to bottom: Vista, Linux, Mac, XP
firefox 3 themes.jpg

The theme changes go beyond just a few changed icons, too. As you can tell in the screenshot above there are some rather drastic differences between each of the themes. A good example of that is the address bar and search box which have rounded corners on some operating systems, and don’t on others.

As you begin to dive a little deeper you’ll notice that the OS-specific skinning impacts more than the browser’s main window. Everything from the settings to managing bookmarks have all been designed to fit in with the general appearance of your operating system.


firefox performance.jpgWe’re not going to dive deep into the performance realm today because that’s something we plan on exploring more in the future. One thing that we can say is that the performance hasn’t changed much since our last extensive test, especially in the memory usage department. Firefox 3 still knocks the socks off of the competitors when it comes to minimizing the amount of memory it uses.

But you know darn well that we won’t move on without giving you some sort of benchmarks. We decided to see how Firefox 3, Opera 9.5, and Safari 3.1 do on the SunSpider JavaScript test. We left Internet Explorer out of this because it is pretty much the only one not claiming that it has significant JavaScript speed improvements. Here are the results from the three browsers running on Windows XP (a smaller number is better):

  1. Firefox 3: 3057.6ms (results)
  2. Safari 3.1: 3464.0ms (results)
  3. Opera 9.5: 4440.0ms (results)

What’s interesting is that on Apple’s Safari site they say that “it executes JavaScript up to 4.5 times faster than Firefox 2 and up to 5 times faster than Opera 9.” While that may have been true at one point, I think they’ll need to be updating their facts. Although you know darn well that they won’t admit defeat to Firefox 3. ;)


Security is normally one of the main ways that people try to “sell” Firefox to their friends and family. They talk about how vulnerable you could be if you’re not using Firefox, and it looks like this will continue to be a selling point even in Firefox 3. Take a look at some of the new security features it brings to the table:

  • Enhanced Web Forgery Protection: Firefox will try and block any sites that are infested with malware (example site), or are trying to compromise your confidential information through a phishing attack (example site).
  • Antivirus Integration: After you download a file Firefox 3 will automatically scan it using any antivirus software that you have installed on your computer.
  • Vista Parental Controls: I wish Mozilla got around to integrating with Vista’s parental controls a little better, because the only thing Firefox 3 will honor are any download restrictions that have been established. That’s nice and all, but website blocking is something most parents are probably concerned about more.


While Firefox 3 has a lot of improvements that are constantly working behind the scenes, there are also some great things that you’ll want to start taking advantage of right away. Here are the main features that you surely don’t want to miss:

  • Enhanced Address Bar (a.k.a. Awesome Bar): The address bar has received one of the biggest overhauls, and it now uses an intelligent algorithm to determine which results you’re likely looking for. It uses a combination of the recency and frequency of your visits to figure out what belongs at the top of the list.
    firefox address bar.png
  • Better Download Management: The download manager in Firefox was revamped a bit, but what’s more important is that in the Status Bar of the browser you can now keep an eye on how much longer your downloads have. Plus you can resume your downloads after you’ve restart the browser.
    firefox 3 status bar downloads.png
  • “Remember My Password” isn’t so annoying: I absolutely hate when a browser asks you if you want it to remember your password before you even have a chance to see if what you entered was correct. I use different passwords on different sites, and now with Firefox 3 it will popup with an information bar along the top of the browser asking if I want it to remember my password. What’s nice about that is it doesn’t interrupt the page from loading, which means you can actually see whether the login credentials you used were correct before having Firefox store that information in its database.
    firefox remember password.png
  • Simplified Bookmarking: Bookmarking a page is now as simple as clicking on the star located in the address bar. If you click the star a second time it will let you edit details such as the name of the bookmark, the location, and even any tags that you think will help find it in the future.
    firefox bookmark.png
  • Smart Bookmarks: The Smart Bookmarks are kind of like the automatically generated music playlists that applications like iTunes create. These special bookmarks can show a listing of your most visited sites, places you recently bookmarked, and more. We’ve even put together instructions on how to create your own Smart Bookmarks in Firefox 3.
    firefox smart bookmarks.png
  • Full Page Zoom: By default when you go to zoom in and out on a website it will now zoom the entire page instead of just increasing or decreasing the size of the text. This is more like what the other mainstream browsers do, but you can always go back to the old way of “zooming” only the text if you want.
    firefox full zoom.png


There are also some great things that developers of websites and extensions alike will want to take advantage of. Here are some of my favorites:


Firefox 3 is undoubtedly a next generation browser, and I’m anxious to see how well this version can compete against the other top-dogs out there. Let us know in the comments what you think of it, what your favorite features are, and when/if you plan on making the leap to Firefox 3.

P.S. Keep an eye out for next Wednesday’s CyberNotes as we show you some tweaks that can help make the browser even better.

Copyright © 2011

Related Posts: