I like Chrome’s unified search/address bar, but Chrome otherwise just doesn’t fit how I use a web browser. Luckily there is an easy way to make Firefox’s awesome bar do something similar. In fact, it is even more powerful.
- Customize your Firefox toolbar and remove the search box.
- Go to your favorite search engine
- Right-click the search text field on the search engine page and add a keyword. For example, for Google you can simply call the keyword google.
- Now in the awesome bar, type ‘google searchterm’ and hit enter. The search is automatically done on Google.
The best part about this trick is that you can do it on just about any site on the Internet that has a search field. You can create many keywords to search your favorite sites, such as Amazon, Newegg, Twitter, etc.
Firefox 3 has gigantic improvements for Mac users, but they left out a few things that would have made it fit in better. Here are a few extensions I installed to make Firefox 3 on Mac OS X a little more Mac like.
- Fission – Combines the address bar and progress bar like Safari. I like this since it is easier to notice when a page finishes loading.
- firefox-mac-pdf – Ever wanted to view PDF’s in the browser like Safari? This extension is the first PDF viewer to integrate into Firefox on Macs (Adobe Reader works if your lucky and if you like bloat). It uses PDFKit (the part of OS X that handles PDF’s) and works just as slick/fast as Safari when it comes to handling PDF’s. For an early version, this works very well.
- Favicons on Firefox 3 for Mac – Mozilla for some reason does not like having favicons on the bookmarks toolbar for Mac versions of Firefox. This fixes it.
There are also themes for Firefox 3 that look more Safari like.
Daring Fireball makes some interesting points on Firefox 3 vs. Safari 3 on Macs.
I continue to struggle picking between the two browers. I love the integration Safari has with OS X (Keychain, Dictionary lookup, searching for bookmarks, etc.). Given that I will be getting an iPhone at the end of the year, this integration is important. Safari 3.1 continues to improve compatibility with web sites, almost to the point where I do not have to worry about it anymore.
Yet I keep getting drawn back to Firefox. I always have had a soft spot for Firefox, given that I was one of the first people to try it out back in the Phoenix nightly-build days. Extensions are important. Built-in support for web-based RSS readers is a big feature for me. The new awesome bar has really changed my perspective on bookmarks and I hope Safari adds something similar in the future. Firefox 3 is also very close to fitting in as a Mac application, it isn’t completely there, but is close.
I did resolve one Safari issue I have always had. Single-window support for tabs is now possible. That was a big issue for me that essentially erases Firefox’s advantage in tabbed browsing.
For the first time in history, I am actually enjoying using Firefox on Macs. Firefox 3 Beta 2 has been released and works fantastically on my Mac (as well as my Windows computer at work). In fact, for the first time in a long time, I think I officially will use Firefox as my web browser on Macs.
Mac fans, make sure you download the Proto theme (what will become the default Mac theme when Firefox 3 is finished). It makes Firefox fit in beautifully with OS X.
I am very impressed with the new bookmark system (Places) and just how solid this beta feels. Lots of little details appear to have been addressed.