Google is currently changing the way Chrome (version 69) is displaying URLs. So-called “scheme and trivial subdomains” are hidden in the browser’s adress bar (Omnibox).
URL prefixes like ‘www’ or ‘m.’ are hidden.
In order to see these subdomains, users have to double click the URL. Some advanced users are quite upset:
Please revert this change, this is an alienation to every Web user, they need and have the right to know which URL are they visiting
and similar remarks were made on the Google Chrome help website and on blogs:
Google is a great company, but their ability to churn out unforced errors like this — that especially disadvantage busy, non-techie users — remains a particularly bizarre aspect of their culture,
It is very understandable that not everybody is pleased by this change. Especially website developers might prefer the classical URL display method.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution: Revert URL displaying to normal
- Navigate to Chrome’s settings by entering chrome://flags into the URL bar / Omnibox
- Search for the option “Omnibox UI Hide Steady-State URL Scheme and Trivial Subdomains”
- Deactivate this option.
- Take note of the remark that “For Mac, this flag will have no effect unless MacViews is enabled”
So switching to a different browser for website analysis and development because of the changes in URL handling is not necessary at the moment.
Browser developers are intervening in our web experience
This is good news because even when using alternative browsers like Firefox, there are interventions in the native web experience: Mozilla’s developers are planning to implement DNS over HTTPS, and for this purpose, they are evaluating if it is a good idea to use Cloudflare’s DNS service for all requests – a change which also earns a lot of criticism for introducing a single point of failure and the possibility of governmental spying.
The author’s point of view: In my opinion, Google’s current run to change the way URLs are displayed is the wrong path. Browsers should display URLs ‘as is’ and not hide parts of them from their users which is intransparent and irritating. How do you feel about the changes browser developers are bringing to our web surfing experience?