Google revealed plans in mid-2020 to replace the full URL displayed in the company’s Chrome web browser with just the root domain name of the site.
The company hoped that the reduction would help users of its browser against phishing and other domain-based attacks.
A visit to any site in Chrome would show only the main domain, e.g. ghacks.net, instead of the full path. While Google did introduce options to display the full URL in Chrome, criticism was leveled at Google right from the get-go.
The full URL offers valuable information, especially on multi-user or publisher sites such as WordPress or Blogger.
A new post on the Chromium Bugs site reveals that the results were not as promising as Google had hoped. According to the post, security metrics did not improve when URLs were reduced to the bare minimum in the company’ web browser. As a consequence, Google decided to end the simplified domain experiment.
Delete simplified domain experiment
This experiment didn’t move relevant security metrics, so we’re not
going to launch it. 🙁
Google Chrome will display the full URL going forward, and not just the base domain name of a site visited in the browser. The change won’t affect the removal of the protocol HTTPS:// or common parts such as www, as these continue to be hidden in Chrome.
Desktop users of Chrome may display the missing pieces by right-clicking in the browser’s address bar and selecting the “Always show full URLs” option there. Once checked, Chrome will display the full address including the protocol and common parts such as www again for all visited sites.
The experiment was not the first attack against the URL in Chrome’s address bar. Back in 2018, Google introduced an experiment that would display the search term in the Chrome address bar and not the URL of the site. Google was criticized heavily for the change and pulled it eventually before it made its way into stable versions of the browser.
Still, it is probably only a matter of time before the next URL hiding change for the sake of users of Chrome is introduced as an experiment by Google.
Now You: full URL all the time or not? What is your opinion?