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Chrome no longer tries to hide the full address of a website

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As the manufacturer of the most used web browsers in the world, Google has a moral and in some cases legal obligation to protect the privacy and security of its users. However, as the Privacy Sandbox and FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) show, not all efforts are welcomed without scrutiny. But before that, Google has been trying to combat phishing scams by changing what’s displayed in Chrome’s address bar. The strategy turned out to be less effective than expected, and Google is now retreating from its strong defense last year.

Many phishing scams rely on people’s tendency not to double-check things, such as phone numbers and website addresses. The latter uses URLs and addresses that are very close to the original for some phishing sites, blocks inspections using very long text strings, and uses other tricks to hide the real source. It’s even more annoying if you try. Google’s great solution was to hide these URLs altogether and show only the actual domain name of the web page.

Last year, Google began experimenting with hiding everything but the site’s domain name to help users easily distinguish between “google.com” and “gooogle.com.” This is a much more formidable option when compared to older suggestions where Chrome doesn’t display URLs, only search terms. Of course, we expect everyone to use the address bar to search Google and other web engines directly.

Google now seems to have finished this “simplified domain experiment”. That is, it no longer applies to the end user’s Chrome browser. I just said that this strategy is not moving the relevant security indicators. This may be another way of saying that it didn’t really work to fight spoofing sites. Simplified URLs actually look simpler, so there’s an even greater risk that people won’t look at the simplified URL again.

However, not only did they question the effectiveness of the solution, but it was also criticized by Google for supporting its apps and services with this strategy. In particular, it hides Google’s AMP pages invisibly and directs more traffic to Google’s servers rather than the actual source of those sites.

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