Google brings ‘www’ back to Chrome, but not for long

Google is trying to make URLs more readable, but apparently people like the old ways. 


Google wants to make web addresses more readable, but apparently not everyone is happy with how it tried doing so.

In the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser, released earlier this month, Google hid the HTTP or HTTPS prefix and stripped out website domain qualifiers like the initial “www” or “m,” which indicates a website geared for mobile devices. But Google now says it’s rolling back some of those changes after receiving community feedback.

“In Chrome M69, we rolled out a change to hide special-case subdomains “www” and “m” in the Chrome omnibox,”  Google’s Emily Schechter wrote in a Chromium thread. “After receiving community feedback about these changes, we have decided to roll back these changes in M69 on Chrome for Desktop and Android.”

The next version of Chrome will again omit “www” but not “m.”

“We are not going to elide “m” in M70 because we found large sites that have a user-controlled “m” subdomain,” wrote Schechter. “There is more community consensus that sites should not allow the “www” subdomain to be user controlled.”

Google also plans to “initiate a public standardization discussion” with standards organizations on how “www” or “m” could be treated in future web addresses.

These changes are part of Google’s effort to make URLs more understandable to users. URLs are a security problem because fake URLs can fool users into thinking they’re visiting a legitimate website where sensitive information like passwords or personal information can be collected. By making URLs simpler, people may be able to recognize illegitimate websites more easily.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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