As it turns out, hiding URL information does not help security.
Chrome is ending its war on address bar URLs—at least for now. About a year ago, Chrome started experimenting with stripping down the URL shown in the address bar to only the domain name, so instead of something like "https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020/06/google-is-messing-with-the-address-bar-again-new-experiment-hides-url-path/," the address bar would show only "arstechnica.com," and you would have no idea where you are in the site directory.
Android Police spotted a post on the Chromium bug tracker announcing that Google is killing the idea. Back in June 2020 when the experiment was kicking off, Google engineer Emily Stark explained that the company was experimenting with a simplified URL display "to understand if it helps users identify malicious websites more accurately." It's a year later, and now Stark writes that the "simplified domain experiment" will be deleted from the codebase, saying, "This experiment didn't move relevant security metrics, so we're not going to launch it. :("
Apple's Safari browser also hides URLs like this.
The Chrome team is not afraid of blowing up existing web standards and has publicly declared it wants to kill the URL—it just hasn't figured out how yet. This was just the latest of several crazy experiments, so don't be surprised if Google comes for your URLs again.
Today, Chrome only hides the "https://" at the beginning of the URL, but you can opt out of that on desktops by right-clicking on the address bar and checking "always show full URLs."
Listing image by Getty Images
Google Chrome ends its war on address bar URLs—for now, at least
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