Google Removes http:// from Chrome

Now this is something that I find really interesting. We all know and love Google Chrome/Chromium (and if you don’t, you’re demonstrably wrong), but Google recently made a change in the developer version that ruffled some feathers: the URL field will no longer show the “http://”. This made a lot of people very upset.

For a while now, Mobile Safari has been doing something similar, although I do think in that case, it’s about saving space. On Mobile Safari, the scheme is hidden until you tap the URL field to edit. The developer version of Google Chrome takes this a step further, and omits the scheme completely. Bug reports were filed, and in true internet fashion, discussion ensued.

A few things need to be made clear about Chrome’s implementation of this feature. The first thing that jumped into my mind was this: some applications, whether they be web or real ones, actually require you to add the scheme (for instance, to autoparse URLs). Google claims to have solved this issue by adding the scheme to your clipboard when you copy and paste URLs from the URL field, however, this behaviour is currently broken in many clipboard implementations. Another thing that you should be wondering about now is what they do with other schemes like ftp, https, and gopher. The solution here is decidedly simple: those will still be shown.

The reason behind this change is obvious: the URL scheme bears little meaning to most people using a browser – they know it’s there and how to type it, but it doesn’t indicate anything to them. Since computing has been about abstracting away complexity for a while now, it was only a matter of time before browser makers started removing this piece of web history.

That being said, I’m not at all in agreement with the “solution” Google is presenting here. Hiding complexity is not a solution – it’s just hiding something. It’s like Mac OS X hiding away the UNIX file system layout madness with a layer of kid-friendly directories; it only makes things look pretty – it doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem. You can cover up that pile of mangled corpses in your bedroom with a flower-patterned table cloth, but that doesn’t actually address the problem of there being a pile of mangled corpses in your bedroom.

Since 99.999% of the people only ever encounter http://, ftp://, and https:// (did I forget any?), why not create a standard set of easy-to-understand icons to replace them, in cooperation with other browser makers? I mean, if Mozilla and Microsoft can agree on the RSS icon (2005, people, that’s how far back my OSNews memory goes!), surely we can all get along and do something similar here? Most browsers show a lock icon anyway when browsing to an https site, so this shouldn’t be too big of a deal, right?

101 Comments

  1. TommyCarlier 2010-04-18 12:24 pm EST
    • boulabiar 2010-04-18 12:28 pm EST
      • Doc Pain 2010-04-18 12:57 pm EST
        • btrimby 2010-04-18 2:38 pm EST
          • Delgarde 2010-04-18 9:30 pm EST
    • ichi 2010-04-18 2:51 pm EST
    • softdrat 2010-04-19 3:00 am EST
  2. MissingBeOS 2010-04-18 12:24 pm EST
  3. Korbinus 2010-04-18 12:27 pm EST
  4. GraphiteCube 2010-04-18 12:47 pm EST
    • wannabe geek 2010-04-18 12:58 pm EST
    • Fettarme H-Milch 2010-04-18 5:48 pm EST
      • righard 2010-04-18 5:53 pm EST
        • boldingd 2010-04-19 5:58 pm EST
          • jboss1995 2010-04-20 8:36 pm EST
      • Thom Holwerda 2010-04-18 5:54 pm EST
        • abdavidson 2010-04-19 8:28 am EST
          • Thom Holwerda 2010-04-19 8:37 am EST
          • google_ninja 2010-04-19 4:48 pm EST
          • Bill Shooter of Bul 2010-04-20 2:33 am EST
        • Soulbender 2010-04-19 2:55 pm EST
          • fretinator 2010-04-19 5:57 pm EST
      • BluenoseJake 2010-04-18 7:29 pm EST
    • frood 2010-04-18 9:39 pm EST
    • Morgan 2010-04-19 12:22 am EST
  5. cmost 2010-04-18 12:57 pm EST
    • Creap 2010-04-18 1:20 pm EST
      • Doc Pain 2010-04-18 3:06 pm EST
        • bosco_bearbank 2010-04-18 5:08 pm EST
          • porcel 2010-04-18 5:44 pm EST
          • Morgan 2010-04-19 12:28 am EST
          • google_ninja 2010-04-19 4:51 pm EST
      • daveak 2010-04-18 4:31 pm EST
        • Gryzor 2010-04-18 11:21 pm EST
          • daveak 2010-04-19 7:03 pm EST
          • Lobotomik 2010-04-20 10:12 am EST
          • Bounty 2010-04-20 3:19 pm EST
      • Delgarde 2010-04-18 9:32 pm EST
        • Lobotomik 2010-04-20 9:42 am EST
  6. bnolsen 2010-04-18 1:10 pm EST
    • btrimby 2010-04-18 2:29 pm EST
  7. Kroc 2010-04-18 1:31 pm EST
    • btrimby 2010-04-18 2:54 pm EST
    • ddc_ 2010-04-18 8:15 pm EST
    • Bill Shooter of Bul 2010-04-18 9:25 pm EST
      • Kroc 2010-04-18 10:08 pm EST
        • Bill Shooter of Bul 2010-04-18 11:15 pm EST
      • Steve Jabs 2010-04-19 4:10 am EST
      • gary 2010-04-20 6:02 am EST
    • Delgarde 2010-04-18 9:35 pm EST
      • dragossh 2010-04-19 12:21 pm EST
    • edmnc 2010-04-20 11:54 am EST
  8. raboof 2010-04-18 1:44 pm EST
    • btrimby 2010-04-18 2:58 pm EST
      • raboof 2010-04-18 3:30 pm EST
        • btrimby 2010-04-18 4:31 pm EST
  9. r00kie 2010-04-18 1:46 pm EST
  10. huwnet 2010-04-18 1:53 pm EST
  11. theTSF 2010-04-18 2:03 pm EST
  12. crislevin 2010-04-18 2:11 pm EST
  13. uhsf 2010-04-18 2:42 pm EST
    • siride 2010-04-18 3:53 pm EST
  14. antwarrior 2010-04-18 2:50 pm EST
    • phoenix 2010-04-18 6:26 pm EST
      • klagermkii 2010-04-18 6:56 pm EST
  15. Zifre 2010-04-18 3:03 pm EST
  16. Invincible Cow 2010-04-18 3:18 pm EST
    • orestes 2010-04-18 4:18 pm EST
  17. Marus 2010-04-18 3:47 pm EST
  18. eazel7 2010-04-18 3:51 pm EST
  19. AnythingButVista 2010-04-18 3:51 pm EST
  20. JrezIN 2010-04-18 3:56 pm EST
  21. graigsmith 2010-04-18 4:03 pm EST
  22. Terg 2010-04-18 4:12 pm EST
    • Thom Holwerda 2010-04-18 4:40 pm EST
  23. Elv13 2010-04-18 5:53 pm EST
  24. dpatch 2010-04-18 5:59 pm EST
  25. Drumhellar 2010-04-18 6:35 pm EST
    • boldingd 2010-04-19 6:10 pm EST
  26. OSNevvs 2010-04-18 6:46 pm EST
  27. bellamyr 2010-04-18 7:16 pm EST
  28. waid0004 2010-04-18 7:30 pm EST
  29. nbensa 2010-04-18 10:35 pm EST
    • stestagg 2010-04-20 9:12 pm EST
  30. stabbyjones 2010-04-18 10:43 pm EST
  31. The1stImmortal 2010-04-18 11:17 pm EST
  32. sdhays 2010-04-18 11:19 pm EST
  33. Tuishimi 2010-04-19 12:08 am EST
  34. Zifre 2010-04-19 12:24 am EST
  35. Blomma 2010-04-19 1:53 am EST
  36. ohbrilliance 2010-04-19 3:11 am EST
  37. HappyGod 2010-04-19 6:35 am EST
  38. greygandalf 2010-04-19 6:44 am EST
    • Thom Holwerda 2010-04-19 7:54 am EST
  39. kvarbanov 2010-04-19 8:28 am EST
  40. smoerk 2010-04-19 4:54 pm EST
  41. Bounty 2010-04-19 5:29 pm EST
  42. jaklumen 2010-04-20 5:31 am EST
  43. Pr3st00 2010-04-21 1:59 pm EST