Google experiments with shortened URLs

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A new way of shortening URLs in the address bar of the Chrome browser has been found in the developer version. Websites would no longer show the full URL in the address bar but would be shortened to the original domain name.

It is not the first time that Google explores such a feature in Chrome. At the end of 2018, the tech giant also tried to implement the feature but eventually abandoned it after users didn’t like the way URLs were displayed. In an earlier version, the subdomains ‘www’ and ‘m’ were automatically omitted, as were ‘http’ and ‘https’. Two weeks later, Google made an adjustment so that search results in Google were shown in shortened form in the address bar, but that feature was cut as well.

In the new version, a website URL would again be abbreviated to just the domain name, but the full URL will be visible if you hover your mouse over the search bar (without having to click). In the other option, the entire URL is only shortened when a user clicks anywhere else on that specific webpage.

Google did not give a reason for further exploration of the function, but Chromium software engineer Livvie Lin gave a small clue at the beginning of this year. A complete (and sometimes confusing) URL would make it easier to be fooled with a fake website, while a shortened one would provide instant clarity.