Firefox 77 won’t connect to non-domain address bar entries with periods anymore (will search instead)
Now Mozilla wants to change the handling of address bar items with points that are not domain names. This will happen when Firefox 77 is released. Current versions of Firefox attempt to connect to items with points when entered in the browser’s address bar. If you search a phrase like “world.log” you will get a “Hmm. We can’t find that site.” in Firefox, currently, Firefox adds https: // before the search because it interprets the input as a domain name to connect to. Note that Firefox interprets the sentence as a search term if it contains spaces.
The error is quite common when looking for file names. I prepare? when I need to run a search term with a period to make Firefox search for the term instead of trying to connect to it because it considers the term as a domain.
As of Firefox 77, Firefox uses a different logic when it comes to address bar items that contain dots. In short, if the term is not a domain, e.g. ghacks.net, it treats the term like a search query. Means: Firefox maintains a list of top-level domains (using the public suffix lists); if the typed string contains a period, it is compared to that list to determine whether it should attempt to connect to it or perform a search instead.
Firefox users using the advanced nightly version of the web browser will already notice the change. A search for console.log performs a search in the latest version instead of connecting to it.
Firefox will then perform the search with the default search engine. Is it still possible to prepare? to the query to make Firefox search for it. If you? Ghacks.net, Firefox performs a search for the domain name instead of connecting to it.
Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers use the same technique to determine if a user’s input should be resolved or redirected to the search engine configured in the web browser. Mozilla will release Firefox 77 on June 2, 2020.