Google has been cutting down the URL in Chrome’s search box in the omnibox for the past few years, saying it makes it easier for users to identify trusted domains. However, it has now scrapped this experiment and displays the entire URL as described in a developer document spotted by Android Police.
At one point, Google planned to remove the URL completely and just display search terms. Recently, it simplified the address bar by hiding “https: // www” and showing only the domain name. At the time, Google said they were trying to make things simpler for the average user. “They’re hard to read, it’s hard to know which part of them to trust, and in general I do not think URLs work as a good way to convey site identity,”
But when Google first dropped www. and m. from sites, critics on Hacker News and other sites pointed out that two different sites could appear identical and potentially expose users to phishing attacks – among other issues.
Google has now pointed out and admitted that the idea did not work as expected. “Deleted simplified domain experiment,” wrote tech leader Emily Stark. “This experiment did not move relevant safety metrics, so we will not launch it.”
The change is now live in Chrome 91, where only “https: //” is hidden by default. However, it is easy to display it by simply right-clicking or ctrl-clicking on the omni field and selecting “Always show full URLs” as Android Police pointed out.
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