Upgrade or downgrade?

Software developers, and software consumers, always update and upgrade. Or at least they think so. But sometimes (many times?) the upgrade is actually a downgrade.

A case in point, the latest versions of the Firefox Web browser: I am a fan of Firefox! It’s my first — and, as much as possible, only — choice for a browser. (There are still some sites for which you have to use something else, but the numbers are dwindling.)

But, recently, an upgrade to a latest version (7.0.1 on the Mac — though I think this started with v. 6.) left me disappointed. In the past, whenever you went to a page, the address field showed you the URL of the page you were viewing (that address that starts with http://). Maybe I’m crazy, but I use that information a lot, sending URLs of recommended pages to other people, verifying that a connection is secured (by seeing https:// instead of http://), in short, this is important information.

The downgrade is that in the latest version, for most (if not all) visited pages, the address field stays blank. There is a little icon to its left, and if you click on that icon, another information page will pop up, blocking part of the page. Close that info page, and the missing URL will be visible in the address field. But this comes at the price of three additional clicks: first, on the icon to the left; second, on the “more information” button; and third, to close the info window that just opened. Three clicks to see an address that used to show up immediately. And it’s not like they saved screen real estate; the space is still taken, but by a blank white strip. Useless.

Can someone explain to me why?

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