Searching from newtab activity stream with handoff to awesomebar does not show one-click search engines.

(Needinfo from 2 people)



2 months ago
20 days ago


(Reporter: ke5trel, Unassigned, NeedInfo)


(Blocks 2 bugs, Regression, {regression, ux-consistency})

67 Branch
Dependency tree / graph

Firefox Tracking Flags

(firefox-esr60 unaffected, firefox66 wontfix, firefox67 wontfix, firefox67.0.1 wontfix, firefox68 wontfix, firefox69 affected)



(1 attachment)


  1. Set browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.improvesearch.handoffToAwesomebar = true and/or browser.privatebrowsing.searchUI = true.
  2. Go to about:newtab or a private new tab and type into the search box.
  3. Try to select a different search engine.

Searching from activity stream prepends the search term with @<default engine> which effectively locks-in that engine and does not show one-click search icons like it did before. The only way to change search engine is to remove the @ term at the beginning which is very clumsy. This is a regression and UX inconsistency, there is no apparent reason why initiating search from activity stream should make it more difficult to use a non-default search engine.

While other browsers are making it easier to use a different search engine in private windows (Vivaldi, Brave) (Bug 1411340), Firefox is making it harder.

FWIW, this is intended behavior when entering an @ alias, but I'm not sure why such an alias is used in the first place here. Since the search field uses the default engine, ? could be used instead.

not a recent regression and we are shipping 67 next week, wontfix 67.

Mikes, could you folks weigh in on what you would expect the user flow to be here

Flags: needinfo?(mverdi)
Flags: needinfo?(mconnor)

Marking this as a P3 (backlog) until we hear back from Mconnor/mverdi the importance of fixing this bug. Then we'll re-assess. Thanks!

Priority: -- → P3
Component: Activity Streams: Newtab → New Tab Page

Marking disabled for 68. Per mconnor: "Behaviour is nightly only, and Verdi is thinking about how we should proceed."

Blocks: 1501747
No longer regressed by: 1501747

The search hand-off has been in release since 66 for private windows which I reflected in tracking flags, consequently it is not completely disabled in 68 so I think wontfix is more accurate.

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