Google abandons URL shortening in Chrome

Credit: Dreamstime

Google has ditched the notion of URL truncation in Chrome, according to a note posted earlier this month in the Project Chromium bug database.

“This experiment did not displace the relevant security measures, so we are not going to launch it,” wrote Emily Stark, software engineer for the Chrome team, in the June 7 entry.

Android Police first reported on Stark’s note on June 10.

Stark’s notification, which referred to what Chromium – the open-source project that produces code for Chrome and several other browsers, including Microsoft’s Edge – called the “lite domain” experiment, ended efforts to shorten what appears in the browser address. bar.

In August 2020, Google announced – Stark was one of three engineers who drafted the statement – that it would be testing with certain Chrome users who would hide a large portion of a site’s URL. The idea, according to Google, was to thwart phishing attacks.

“Our goal is to understand, through actual use, whether viewing URLs in this way helps users realize they are visiting a malicious website and protects them from phishing and social engineering attacks.” , said the engineers.

Trials began with Chrome 86, launched in early October 2020.

Rather than displaying an entire URL, Chrome has instead condensed it to what Google has called the “registrable domain” or its most important part.

If the full URL for, say, a Computer world the article was, then the registerable domain – and the only bit that would appear in the address bar – would be

In doing so, the thought is gone, URLs that tried to obscure the domain by filling in the actual address with – sticking to the same example – elsewhere in a long chain, would be exposed.

In different versions of Chrome from 86 onwards, users could enable URL shortening through the settings of the chrome: // flags options page if they had not been selected by Google to participate but wanted to see the change for themselves.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the modification was cursed by some; long-time users of any browser often use torches and forks whenever a long-standing UI (user interface) or user experience (user experience) element is changing or cut.

Starting with Chrome 91 – which launched on May 25 – the browser only removes the https: // from the URL and optional parameters on chrome: // flags no longer exists.

Other browsers, including Apple’s Safari, continue to use the short, domain-only URLs that Google has now rejected. Edge, however, never adopted the test produced by Chromium, and continued to produce full addresses (including even https: //).

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