Why do so many use the Firefox/IE search bar to find websites?

Justin Pot March 10, 2011
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When not working at MUO I build WordPress sites for small businesses here in Colorado. The core of our package is teaching users how to best make use of the sites themselves, so there’s a two hour tutorial. It’s during these tutorials that I’ve noticed a very unusual, yet very common, behavior.

Lots of people like to type web addresses into the search bar in Firefox and Internet Explorer. Why?

I suppose perhaps people get sick of being told that no results could be found after typing the address incorrectly in the address bar, but why not simply search for things instead of typing an address?

And why do people get confused when typing “www.brandnewwebsite.com/wp-admin” doesn’t bring up any results in Google?

Can someone with more knowledge of human machine interaction tell me why people do this? I’m open to a number of theories.

An aside: I’m pretty sure Google knows this is going on. Their browser, Chrome, combined the address and search bars into one. The reason for this must be they know the staggering number of people who type addresses into the search bar.

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