Missing the “Home” Button in Firefox 3

I just downloaded and installed Firefox 3 beta 5. The first thing I noticed was that they did away with the Home button (and when you run Firefox 3 and Firefox 2 on the same Mac, the home button goes away in Firefox 2 as well).

I’m sure this change was discussed and debated before it went in. I’m sure that somebody thought it was more logical to have your home page be “just another bookmark.” But this change is going to cause more confusion than it will resolve; I contend that it won’t help a single user. It certainly won’t save much useful real estate on the toolbar (there’s plenty of room for the home button if you nudge the URL box over a few pixels).

Having no home button will cause users like me more annoyance since we’ll have to re-add the home button back to the toolbar on every machine we use.

More importantly, though, this change will really just disintermediate Yahoo, since Yahoo gets a bunch of traffic from deals with telecoms and ISPs that set users’ home pages to Yahoo by default. If a user’s browser doesn’t have a home button at all, that user will be forced to navigate using search (which on Firefox is set to Google by default) instead of hitting the home button.

Update: The speedy and perceptive Mike Beltzner chimed in to say that this was a change that happened in earlier betas of Firefox 3 and has been reverted in beta 5, so it should no longer be an issue. If you’re like me and you installed an earlier beta, you can resurrect the home button using the toolbar customization menu.