But hot damn, you're making me question loyalties on my dev machine.
Here, let me show you a clear example.
Firefox clearly has the superior bar.
However, I do brand new searches constantly. Often 20+ a day, that often look similar to older searches, but aren't quite.
Now, whether I've developed that behavior because of Chrome, or because it works well for me, is a question for itself.
Also, since I'm here- anyone get frequent fuckups lately in the Chrome omnibar, not searching what you put in, to instead search something you HAVE searched before?
Yes, I have been encountering the same behavior. It is infuriating because it's impossible to tell when this is going to happen. This is separate from pulling up different searches I've used before, this bug seems to be something like "ignore what you type completely".
In Firefox, the hotkey "cmd-K" will put focus into the search bar at the top.
In Chrome they don't have a keybind set to this by default (though on Windows they seem to). But if you open mac System Preferences, go to Keyboard, then Keyboard Shortcuts, and add an Application Shortcut for Chrome, you set the menu item name to "Search the Web..." and the keybind to whatever you want (I used "cmd-K").
So that way regardless if I'm in Firefox or chrome, pressing cmd-K will put me in a place I can search.
you can also have different engines
i have one for ddg so
I have a new dev laptop in the mail, perhaps Firefox will get installed before chrome...
I've noticed frequently Google Instant will fail half way through searching, and it will ignore everything I typed and just go with what Instant guessed before it crapped out.
If Instant is prioritizing your previous search, it may be linked.
Maybe that one.
There are a number of reasons why they really need to rethink this, default it off, or do some better filtering. Didn't impact me personally beyond the confusion but I could imagine that URL and maybe some others coming up in what appears to be someone's unique search or browsing history raising some interesting questions at work and/or at home for some users.
Hit space and you get recent searches.
Start typing and you get suggestions.
It searches your history and bookmarks too, which is what the awesome bar does.
Also, I agree with you regarding Chrome's Google search priorities.
1) Set your search engine to Google (if it isn't currently)
2) Remove the search bar.
3) Press ctrl+k (cmd+k) and start typing. You'll be searching on Google's site, by far the best search experience with Google Instant on.
The only downside is that you need a reasonably fast, low-latency connection for it to work well.
 Fine with decent Internet service, but what a downside it is on a lesser connection. The ~0.5-1 sec delay was unbearable on a 3Mbps DSL connection with average latency.
That said, Omnibar in Incognito Mode works well, because it only searches my history (which is what I want).
Edit: chrome://history is pretty cool, too.
(I'm not talking about the completion dropdown or what it contains, I'm talking about how the typed text in the input area has selected text appended to it when it happens to be a prefix for an earlier search.)
Between this, the lack of tree style tabs, and the weird text selection algorithm, I'm generally sticking with Firefox.