Mozilla polls users on Firefox 3 uninstalls

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Mozilla polls users on Firefox 3 uninstalls

One in ten drop back to old version.

The team behind Mozilla's Firefox browser has been trying to discover why so many users downloaded version 3, but then deleted it and reverted back to version 2.

Ten per cent of Firefox users have stuck to the older version of the software, having tried - and then uninstalled - the upgrade. Mozilla polled the users and received around 5,000 responses.

A key problem was the location bar, which was changed from listing just recent sites to a more 'intelligent' engine which put up a selection based on the user's total viewing history, among other things. This accounted for a quarter of all uninstalls.

"When we expanded the capabilities of the location bar to search against all history and bookmarks in Firefox 3, a lot of people contacted us to say that they had certain bookmarks they didn't really want to have displayed," Firefox principal designer Alex Faaborg wrote in the Mozilla Blog of Metrics.

"In some cases users had intentionally hidden these bookmarks in deep hierarchies of folders, somewhat similar to how one might hide a physical object. Having something from your previous browsing displayed to someone else who is using your computer, or even worse, to a large audience of people as you are giving a presentation, is really one of the most embarrassing things that Firefox can do to you."

Other problems with the upgrade included concerns about speed/memory leakage or incompatible add-ons, cited by 13 per cent of respondents, while four per cent had declined to change what wasn't broken.

The team expressed concern that the problems could have lost them users in the long term, although it noted that only eight per cent of Firefox users are staying with version 2.

"Clearly, many users tried Firefox 3 when it was released, then reverted back to Firefox 2 shortly thereafter, and now they still won't consider upgrading because of their initial experience (even if that initial issue has since been resolved). You never get a second chance to make a first impression," said Faaborg.

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