Mozilla pushed a feature to Firefox 51 Nighty the other day that introduces so-called one-off searches from the address bar to the browser.
The main idea behind the feature is to give Firefox users direct options to run searches using other installed search engines.
Firefox, like any other browser, uses one particular search engine for searches from the address bar.
While it is possible to run searches using different search engines with the help of keywords, it is not a well known feature and requires some manual work to set it up properly.
Additionally, it requires that these keywords are being added to the search string each time a different search engine needs to be used.
Firefox one-off searches
If you are running Firefox 51 Nightly currently, you may have noticed already that the browser lists installed and visible search engines as icons after the search suggestions when you type in the browser’s address bar.
Please note that the installation of customization extensions like Classic Theme Restorer may prevent the icons from being displayed there.
Firefox may display bookmarks, open tabs, history entries and search suggestions when you enter a string in the address bar. Search suggestions are powered by the default search engine only. There was no option to quickly run a search using a different search engine up until now from the address bar.
This changes with the introduction of One-Off searches in Firefox. Basically, what it allows you to do, is click on an icon of another installed search engine to use it for that search.
Firefox will load the results in the browser afterwards without changing the default search engine. This can be useful to run searches on different general purpose search engines, but also to direct searches to specialized sites like Wikipedia, Amazon or IMDb.
Firefox displays only search engines selected for display in the new interface. You may click on the preferences icon on the right side of the search icon listing to open the search preferences and change that.
You may load the preferences directly using the following url: about:preferences#search
To add or remove a search engine from the one-off interface, click in front of it under one-click search engines to display or remove a checkmark icon. Checked search engines are displayed as options, unchecked ones are not.
Turning it off
Firefox users who have no use for the new one-off display in the address bar may turn the feature off. Users who make use of keyword searches may fall into that category for instance.
- Type about:config in Firefox’s address bar and hit enter.
- Confirm that you will be careful if the warning prompt is displayed.
- Search for browser.urlbar.oneOffSearches.
- Double-click on the preference.
Setting browser.urlbar.oneOffSearches to false turns the feature off. (via Sören)