Breaking url-bar search

Gavin Sharp gavin at
Thu Aug 15 17:26:57 UTC 2013

On Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 7:31 AM, William Pietri <william at> wrote:
> I have some concerns about how this happened, but first I'm wondering: on
> what sort of data was the decision made? In the bug discussions, I see my
> use case dismissed as "not a real-world concern", but I'm not seeing any
> reference to actual usage numbers. And there's a reference to data about
> hijacking. What data was there about use of this feature?

Do you mean the specific use case of wanting one engine selected in
the search bar, but another engine used for the location bar?

Intuitive evidence suggests that the search bar dropdown is
infrequently used, because it is hard to discover (some old Test Pilot
heat map studies corroborate this:,
and we have better data from FHR that we're working on making better
use of). Most people just use the default search engine, everywhere.

"not a real world concern" is the wrong way to characterize it - I
have no doubt that a lot of people made use of this functionality. But
even 0.001% of Firefox users is "a lot of people" (on the order of
thousands), and so the bar for us making simplifying changes can't
always be "don't negatively impact a lot of people", unfortunately.
The bright side, for Firefox users affected, is that we have an
awesome add-ons ecosystem, so use popular cases that aren't addressed
by Firefox proper can pretty much always be addressed by add-ons.


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