For the past few years, Google has been cutting short URLs in the Chrome browser Omnibox search bar due to security concerns because it was supposedly difficult for users to identify which domains were safe and not a security threat.
In a report released today by Engadget and based on a document spotted by Android Police, this is all about to change as Google will end its battle with the URL bar and start showing full URL addresses once again in Chrome. Google’s attempt to oversimplify the address bar with its Omnibox approach could never truly get it right and became a highly criticized albatross often cited by users as a failure that did not improve their browsing experience. There was even a time where Google wanted to completely remove the URL in its entirety and simply show search terms.
The simplified Omnibox approach would hide the https://www and would only share the domain name. At the time Google Chrome manager Adrienne Porter stated to Wired ” They’re hard to read, it’s hard to know which part of them is supposed to be trusted, and in general I don’t think URLs are working as a good way to convey site identity.”
As time has gone on, many have lambasted Google for attempting at all. A report from Hacker News pointed out that two different sites could appear to be the same, leaving users open to phishing attacks and other risks. Google, for its part, has recognized this failed concept and has tossed it into the trash bin according to a statement by tech lead Emily Stark ” This experiment didn’t move relevant security metrics, so we’re not going to launch it.”
The change is currently live in Chrome 91, and only the https:// is still hidden by default but, if you right-click on the Omnibox and select always show full URL, it will change the setting.