Breaking url-bar search

William Pietri william at
Fri Aug 16 10:15:39 UTC 2013

Hi, Gavin. Thanks for the reply.

On 08/15/2013 10:26 AM, Gavin Sharp wrote:
> "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.

Ok. So it is fair to say that no data was used in estimating the impact 
of removing this feature?

Also, as to the approximate number of users affected, it sounds like you 
estimated it in the range of "a lot of people", but that could be 
anywhere from thousands to millions? Could it be tens of millions?

Was there any estimation done on the magnitude of per-user impact? I'm 
sure this would be qualitative, of course; I'm just wondering what was 
considered that might not show up in the bug discussion.

> 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.

Ok. Thanks, that link is interesting.

But I'm puzzled by what you write. I thought the theory of this feature 
was that people with hijacked url bar search needed to control that so 
much that it was worth killing a feature. But if most people can't 
discover the search bar dropdown, how is this solving the problem?


More information about the firefox-dev mailing list