Google Chrome Won't Hide a Website's Full URL Anymore

The company is ending its ongoing test

Google has pulled the plug on its ongoing test to hide full URLs, since it said doing so doesn’t actually help with security. 

Initially spotted by Android Police on Thursday, the company’s experiment to only show partial URLs in the browser bar will officially end without launching. 

Google Chrome logo

S3studio / Contributor

Google has attempted to hide full URLs on and off for years, most notably in Chrome 86, which launched last year. Chrome 86 hid all parts of web addresses except the domain name, and was accompanied by a hover animation.

A Google developer said the company’s initial reasoning behind hiding full URLs was "because phishing and other forms of social engineering are still rampant on the web, and much research shows that browsers' current URL display patterns aren't effective defenses," according to the Chromium bug tracker. 

However, Android Police reports that Google's URL experiment ultimately didn't change any security metrics for the testers who were a part of the study. 

Engadget also notes that many critics said two different sites could appear identical by hiding full URLs, which could potentially expose users to phishing attacks and other issues. 

"...Phishing and other forms of social engineering are still rampant on the web, and much research shows that browsers' current URL display patterns aren't effective defenses."

Chrome 91 already reflects this new full URL stance, and only https:// will be hidden by default now. If you still want to see the https://, you can select "Always show full URLs" on Chrome's Omnibox. 

Aside from the ability to see the full URL, the Chrome 91 update, which became available late last month, has other features as well, including the ability to search recently closed tabs, a copy and paste feature for files to paste directly into an email, the ability for websites to save your computer’s battery life by slowing down certain processes, and more. 

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