As the world’s most used manufacturer of web browsers and search engines, Google has put in place and enforces policies to protect users against those who are not of conscience on the Web. However, as the world’s most used search engine and web browser maker, the company is also often accused of stepping up its agenda with these new policies. Even something like hiding the full URL of a website received a bit of negative feedback but Google made sure they do it to protect unintentional users from harm.
While most people will probably know URLs as the wildcard strings of a website’s address, few actually know how they work or even notice them in the first place. It can be a source of confusion or fear for some people but, according to Google, the biggest harm actually comes from fake websites.
It links to a study for research showing that 60% of users have been forged to think they are on the right website when a misleading name of a popular brand appears in that URL. It̵7;s not hard to imagine considering the history filled with websites with URLs specially designed to trick people into entering their passwords in the wrong place. Web browsers have applied many solutions to this problem, including the current practice of highlighting the most important part of the URL and graying the other, but Google thinks that is not enough.
Google’s ultimate solution to hide the entire URL, showing only the domain portion of the address. By eliminating the basic error, Google thinks that users will be able to easily distinguish a fake website from the real one. That said, Google acknowledges that this hasn’t been set up yet and is only part of an experiment applicable to a randomly selected group of Chrome users. More importantly, there is also a way for users to enable or disable behavior at will.
This objection to hiding the full URL stems from concerns that Google may use this behavior to hide sites coming from AMP or accelerated mobile sites rather than directly from the website itself. However, at this point, it could go one of two ways but hopefully, Google will keep the option to disable URL hiding if it still implements it.