Firefox gets a refreshed address bar

Mozilla is launching version 75 of its Firefox browser today. As always, there are plenty of bug fixes and changes for developers who write web apps, but the marquee feature of this update is a refreshed address bar. Given how often you likely use the address bar — though these days it’s often more of a search bar than URL bar — that’s prime real estate in any browser and the kind of feature where users will quickly notice any changes.

Today’s update brings three major changes to the Firefox address bar. The one you’ll notice immediately is that when you click into the address bar it’ll open a list of your most visited site. If you have that site already open in a tab, that’ll get highlighted in the list and you can jump right to that tab with a shortcut (though that’s something I didn’t quite see in the preview releases yet). This list of most-visited sites is the same you see in Firefox’s new tab page and you can manage it from there, too.

When you start a search in the address bar, Firefox now also makes the autocompleted queries a bit easier to read. That’s a minor but welcome change.

With the redesign, the address bar is also getting a bit of a refreshed look and you’ll likely notice that it’s a bit larger, too. For the most part, though, it’s not a radical change.

As the Firefox team also announced today, Mozilla believes that it doesn’t need to make any changes to its 2020 release schedule for the time being, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. So while Google has decided to skip a version with its Chrome release schedule, you’re unlikely to see any changes to how Mozilla releases Firefox. But the team did take note of what today’s users are doing with their browser and has prioritized fixing issues with in-browser video conferencing systems, for example.

“Going forward, we will continue to examine all new features and planned changes with closer attention paid to backwards compatibility, and their potential for any user-facing issues,” the team writes today.