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Chrome OS

Chrome to ditch long URL?

If the latest experiment with URLs in Chrome Canary version 36 indicates anything, Google is considering bidding farewell to long URLs or the full address of a web page in the address bar. Instead of the full address in the address bar, or “Omnibox” as Google calls it, only the website name and the domain are revealed.

If you haven’t heard about it yet, Chrome Canary is the playground for new experimental features on Google Chrome. It shows new ideas that the developers showcase to a small user base of Canary users and get their feedback. The features do not undergo full tests and if the feedback is not strong, they may not even make it to the Google Chrome Dev Channel.

The particular feature, only the top level domain showing in the “Omnibox” is not exactly new. Safari on iOS7 or Opera 20 already have it. The full URL is hidden even when the user is navigating within the site. It is revealed when the user clicks on the “origin chip” button, which is the domain name itself. The “origin chip” button can be enabled by typing chrome://flags/#origin-chip-in-omnibox in the Canary Omnibox. Here’s how it looks on Canary 36 and Firefox 29.

canary_omnibox_origin_chip_vs_firefox

canary_omnibox_origin_chip_vs_firefox

The feature is under heavy debate in several forums. Users who like it argue that URLs can sometimes be incredibly long and we don’t reference Macy’s address when we talk about a Macy’s department. Those who don’t favour it point out that from the perspective of the user this interface adjustment is confusing because it needs one more step to know where they are in the site, or to navigate to somewhere else by modifying the address partially.

As we mentioned earlier, new features and ideas in Canary are experimental and do not confirm that they will be shipped with Google Chrome. It’s more of a testbed to know how users are reacting to a change and only if it is positive, the feature may appear in the released versions of Google Chrome.

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What do you think about this change? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Arun Prakash Jana

Open Source enthusiast and avid blogger. Loves programming, chess and classical music.

5 Comments

  1. Personally, I prefer to see what page I’m currently on.

    • Agreed, basically it’s just hide your url, but i also prefer to see what page currently i visit to avoid something fishy

  2. Once a webbrowser is installed and opened for first time it would be better to ask what to do: showing full url or hiding it, rather than making grumpy users and/or having to seek another webbrowser from another company. There are people that will like the idea and others that will dislike it, so it’s better to ask to do than been forced.

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