Firefox 2.0: Not Radical, but Just Right

Mozilla's return volley isn't as strong as Microsoft's serve, but does it need to be?

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Web search tweaks

Mozilla changed some things about your access to Web search engines in Firefox 2.0. The Search box is no longer limited in size, and it takes up all the available space wherever you place it.

Firefox 2.0's Search box automatically expands to fit the available area and can be placed almost anywhere
 

Firefox 2.0's Search box automatically expands to fit the available

area.

You can then add multiple Firefox spacers from the toolbar Customize dialog box to make it look the way you want it to. I put it on the right side of the File menu bar. That makes it close at hand, without using up precious space on the Location bar.

Like many other changes in Firefox 2.0, the new way you control the Search box size does away with an extension I used on all versions of Firefox 1.x: Resize Search Box. Unlike that extension, Firefox 2.0 lacks a drag-and-drop capability for the right edge of the Search box. But once you tumble to the creative use of spacers, it's not really a problem.

Firefox 2.0 also adds a type-ahead-style drop-down box that appears as you begin to type your search term if your default search engine is Google, Yahoo or Answers.com. There's also a new search-engine manager that makes it easier to select, order and control search engines.

The new search engine manager makes it easier to add, remove and reorder search engines
 

The new search engine manager makes it easier to add, remove and reorder search engines (Click to see larger view)

What are Live Titles?

Firefox 2.0's Live Titles feature changes the way bookmarks are displayed in your Bookmarks area. Live Titles can dynamically change the text label of some of your bookmarks so that the label describes the newest content placed on that site. When you look in your Bookmarks, instead of a static name for the bookmarked site, you'll see a text description of what's new there.

The bookmarks submenu is displaying microsummaries, or Live Titles, where the site names would be normally
 

The bookmarks submenu is displaying microsummaries, or Live Titles, where the site names would be normally (Click to see larger view)

Web sites must specifically enable their sites for microsummaries, the functionality behind Live Titles, for you to gain this benefit in your bookmarks. You also must save your bookmarks in a specific way to enable Live Titles. At the time of Firefox 2.0's launch, a small sample of Live Title-enabled sites were known to be available. For more information, see Mozilla's Microsummaries wiki page.

It's fairly easy to add Live Titles-enabled sites to your bookmarks so that they will display Live Titles. Essentially, you opt to save such a bookmark as a Live Title with a drop-down from the Add Bookmark page. For step-by-step instructions with pictures, see Mozilla's "How do I start using a microsummary?".

Firefox 2.0's Add Bookmark dialog box is modified to support Live Titles
 

Firefox 2.0's Add Bookmark dialog box is modified

to support Live Titles (Click to see larger view)
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