Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #63 7/7/2010

Question: Do the address bar and the search box in the browser do the same thing?


The address bar and the search box in your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc) have similarities but are different.

The address bar is where you should enter the url (address) of a web site when you know the exact address. When you want to go to www.dwightwatt.com you would enter it there. The browser goes directly to the page you enter the address for.

The search box should be used when you do not know the address/url, but are looking for a page. For instance you do not know what the address for my web page is so you could enter dwight watt in the search box and then the search engine you either choose or the default one will return a list of pages related that it found. It is not case sensitive which is why I used my name in lower case letters. You will then click on one of the items found and go to that page. Most often the default search engines are either Google or Bing (Microsoft’s) or Yahoo.

If you enter a url in the search bar you may not get shown the link to the page in the results. The page you want to go to may not be in the search engine’s database yet. I know some people who use the search box to enter urls and search terms and they run into the problem occasionally of it not showing a page they want to look at which is on the Internet. It may be a new page not indexed yet, or may be a page that is set not to be indexed by search engines.

On the newer versions of the browsers quite often now if you enter a term in the address bar and it is not a url the browser will automatically pass it off to the default search engine instead of giving a page not found error.

Using the address bar and search box appropriately will make your use of the Internet web more efficient.