Chrome users aren’t so keen on Google’s plan to kill the URL.
The search giant is temporarily reversing a change in Chrome 69 that hid the ‘www’ and ‘m’ subdomains from the address bar. Google hoped the cleaner address bars would make it easier to identify trustworthy websites.
However, users feel that scrapping special-case subdomains makes it difficult to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate sites. Others have pointed to Google’s interest in expanding the reach of its AMP subdomain as motive to hide the subdomains.
“In Chrome M69, we rolled out a change to hide special-case subdomains “www” and “m” in the Chrome omnibox,” wrote Chromium product manager Emily Schecter in a Chromium bug forum post.
“After receiving community feedback about these changes, we have decided to roll back these changes in M69 on Chrome for Desktop and Android.”
It’s worth noting here that the ‘M’ in M69 refers to a milestone, or stable, release.
However, Schechter said that M70 will hide ‘www’ but not ‘m.’
The reasoning is that there is more “community consensus that sites with ‘www’ subdomains should not be not user controlled.”
Because several sites have a user-controlled ‘m’ subdomain, Chrome will not hide ‘m.’
Ultimately, this means Google wants someone to control subdomains like ‘www’ and ‘m.’ The idea is that this protects users by reserving subdomains for legitimate websites.
Schechter also wrote that the company wouldn’t try to standardize how browsers treat subdomains. Instead, the company will seek public discussion with standards bodies regarding subdomains.
Despite Google’s desire for discussion, several responses to Schechter’s post call the company’s motives into question. If Google wants to discuss the change, why is it pushing ahead before discussion happens?
Regardless, Google seems intent on messing with the URL — for better or worse.