Given that users who are not tech savvy often type search queries into the URL bar, I always wondered what the value was of the URL bar. Clearly, their intention was not to go to the specific URL (unique resource locator) but rather to find out what other information there is on what they typed in. Similarly, as a tech savvy user, I rarely type in URL’s other than for a few often-used sites that I expect my browser to auto-complete. In almost every case, I search instead since I’m never sure what domain a company is using (often, due to domain name squatters). Usually, I find my desired link in the first page of search results.
My follow-up question has been – why not get rid of the URL bar and only provide a search bar? Seems that Google Chrome finally does that.
Search queries and results are listed in line with the potential domain names that could match your query. Hopefully, Firefox 3′s AwesomeBar will provide similar functionality sometime soon (maybe another FF plugin already does?). And if there is broad adoption of Google Chrome, can we hope that the value of typo domain names and squatted domain names will decline?
I acknowledge the obvious value to Google (and Yahoo! and MSN) of additional traffic and searches; I infinitely prefer that option to the current state of affairs.