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Google has reconsidered its decision to no longer display the www part of a url in Chrome’s address bar. It made that unannounced adaptation in Chrome 69, but it reverses it (for the time being) after strong criticism from users.

The adaptation in Chrome 69, which was rolled out last week, came as a surprise to many. In the new version of its browser, Google stopped showing www and m in web addresses because they are only trivial subdomains. However, several experts disagreed and warned that hiding this information has the potential to encourage phishing.

Opponents argued that the addresses of two different websites could now suddenly look identical. They cited examples such as www.pool.ntp.org and pool.ntp.org, which in practice lead to different web pages. Another example is the Tumblr blog m.tumblr.com, which was suddenly displayed as tumblr.com, while again being two different web pages.

It’s not entirely clear why Google decided to delete www. en m. so suddenly. Some suspect the Internet giant that the aim is to increase the reach of his own amp subdomain. The criticism was so fierce that Google decided to reverse the adjustment.

In Chrome M69 we made a change to hide the subdomains www and m in the Chrome-omnibox. After feedback from the community about these changes, we decided to undo these changes in M69 on Chrome for desktop and Android, says Emily Schechter, product manager for Chrome, in the Chromium bug tracker.

New attempt in Chrome 70

However, Google does not give in yet. It now wants to open a debate and plans to delete www again from Chrome 70. The subdomain m will be displayed for the time being.

We are not going to remove it in M70 because we have found large sites that have a user-managed m-subdomain. There is more consensus in the community that sites should not allow the www subdomain to be controlled by a user, says Schechter.

Google is in favour of an open debate with the relevant standards organisations to explicitly reserve www and m under the hood as special subdomains that cannot be managed by users. It is then up to the browser developers to decide whether or not to display these subdomains in their UI.

Apple has been hiding the web and m subdomains in its Safari browser for some time now. Unlike Chrome, the change was made without much resistance. The fact that the same adaptation in Chrome is now kept under a magnifying glass is due to the dominance of the browser and Google’s greater impact on the development of the Internet.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.