New features

Better bookmarks

Heavy surfers will particularly appreciate the overhaul of Firefox’s bookmarking system. Say you wanted to bookmark a page in your existing browser showing the prices of the new iPhone: which folder would you file it under? Apple, phones, technology, iPhone – it could reasonably be filed under a dozen different categories. You may not even bother tucking it in a folder at all, leaving it to fester with all the other unsorted bookmarks that accumulate over time. The problem comes a month later when you’re ready to buy the phone and have to scrabble through your bookmarks to find the right folder or link.

“The bookmarking system is broken,” Nitot told PC Pro, referring to the old-style bookmarking system that has remained largely unchanged since the days of Netscape Navigator. “The more you accumulate bookmarks, the tougher it is to find them.”

Nitot claims the philosophy behind Firefox’s new bookmark system is that you should never have to file a bookmark in a specific folder again. Adding a bookmark is now as simple as clicking the empty star in the address bar. Click the star again – which will now shine yellow to indicate a bookmarked page – and you’re presented with a new option to tag the bookmarks.

You can add as many comma-separated tags as desired to each of your bookmarks. A dropdown menu to the side of the tags field allows you to pick from a list of your previously used tags, although it would have been nice to see the tag autofill when you began to type to reduce the likelihood of accidentally typing duplicate tags (for example, “phone” and “phones”).

The new system reveals its muscle when you come to browse or search for your bookmarks. Tags can now be typed directly into the location bar (also dubbed the “Awesome Bar” – more on which later). When you type “phones”, for example, all the bookmarks that have been tagged with that word appear in a scrollable dropdown list. Multiple tags can be entered to narrow your search, with the list of relevant sites updating dynamically in the dropdown menu.

Those who prefer to continue filing their bookmarks in pre-defined folders still have the option to do so, but in our opinion using tags is a far more effective method of organising hundreds of bookmarks – not least because the tags now operate as virtual folders. Click on Bookmarks | Organise Bookmarks and you’ll find the new Library and virtual folders of all your tags, making it easy to find all the sites tagged with “phone”, for example.


You can take this one step further by creating your own Smart Bookmark Folders. Enter terms into the Search Bookmarks box on the right-hand side of the Library and you’ll be given the option to save that search as a Smart Bookmark Folder. So, you could create separate folders for “Phone applications” or “Phone review” for example, and those folders will be updated every time you bookmark a page with those tags.

Mozilla has placed a couple of Smart Bookmark Folders (namely Recently Bookmarked and Recent Tags) in the Bookmarks sidebar. If you want the full list of tags to be readily available in the sidebar, just drag the Tags folder from the Library into the sidebar.

The “Awesome Bar”

While we’re definitely not fond of the “affectionate name” Mozilla has given its new Location Bar, we’re nonetheless impressed by the Awesome Bar’s capabilities. As well as allowing you to find bookmarks simply by entering the tags, the Awesome Bar offers other shortcuts to finding sites you’ve previously visited.

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