Goodbye to the Classic URL

Google Forces a Rethink on Web Address System

Google_Chrome_lIt's been a decade since Google launched its Chrome Web browser. And it's been a decade of massive success: Chrome is the most used browser in the world, surpassing Microsoft's once-dominant Internet Explorer.

In its 10 years of existence, Chrome has introduced a series of pragmatic changes affecting people's experience of the Internet, from popularising automatic updates to strongly promoting the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) encryption standard. Now Google's Chrome team is looking ahead to its next 10 years, focusing on what could be regarded as its most controversial initiative yet: rethinking the URL system.

URLs are the addresses of online pages; they direct browsers to the right Internet Protocol addresses that identify and differentiate Web servers. But over time, URLs have become increasingly difficult to read and understand. As Internet functionality has expanded, these locators have increasingly become unintelligible alphabet soup.

The current URL system has become particularly troublesome on smartphones and other mobile devices, which don't offer much room to display a meaningful string of a URL. Cyber-criminals have learned to take advantage of this by running fraudulent online services; when users can't keep track of where they are, it's easier to confuse them. Now the Chrome team says it's time to change how a site's identity is displayed.

The Chrome team has been experimenting with changes to Web addresses for years. In 2014, it tried out a formatting feature called the "origin chip" that showed only the main domain name of a site to ensure users knew which domain they were browsing. Within a few weeks of making it available in a Chrome pre-release, Google discontinued the feature.

Similarly, Chrome's HTTPS encryption initiative was met with a lot of pushback. Its transition to treat encrypted Web sites as standard and call out unencrypted sites as insecure seemed radical at first. But the team collaborated with other browsers and technology companies to spread the change across the Internet and promote encrypted connections to protect user privacy.

To be clear, Google isn't trying to start a new URL system from scratch. Instead, it's looking for ways to enhance what's already in place. Google is clever to highlight the need for change to the deep-rooted Web address hierarchy. It's never easy bringing down a legacy. There are almost 2 billion online sites worldwide and tens of trillions of pages. It might be a small world, but it's a big World Wide Web.

This entry was posted on September 13th, 2018 and is filed under Services. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or you can leave a response.

Posted By Raghu Gopal On September 13th, 2018

(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
US carriers team up to offer a solution to improve online authentication:
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
Think about this quote every time I walk across the Thames into the City. Timeless.
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @nickmcquire: “Our success is dependent on your success. That’s what engenders trust in the long term”. Key sentence. Trust has become n…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
#msignite2018 @Microsoft -15 #IoT and #EdgeComputing releases. Includes Azure Digital Twin, Azure IoT Platform supp…
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
This is going to become a globally contentious theme for #5G. The 4G infrastructure approach won't work with 5G but…
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
RT @KGeorgieva: My #UNGA fact of the day: 1 in 2 women in low income countries cannot prove their ID. This limits their access to critical…
Follow Marina
Angela Ashenden
There are now 329,000 organisations using @MicrosoftTeams - incredible growth over the last six months, accelerated…
Follow Angela
Kester Mann
RT @benwood: Mystery shopping the iPhone Xs Max. Very constrained stock in-store across all UK channels. Not available till “at least 20th…
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
@benwood @podtrackers @PankajKedia '@podtrackers, guys - you're missing a trick here. Make a St. Bernard-exclusive…
Follow George
Laura Simeonova
RT @benwood: P20 devices testament to Huawei's ambition in smartphone market. Consistently improving design, capabilities and appeal of its…
Follow Laura
Katie Taylor
Not too early to test out @sketchbookapp on the @SamsungMobile Note 8
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
US Carriers Partner for Project Verify Initiative Will Use Smartphones to Unlock Online Accounts S... Read more
Blog Post
Walmart to Deploy Oculus Headsets in US Stores Will Workplace Training Be Virtual Reality's Saviour? Virtu... Read more
Blog Post
Google Nets Big Android Win in Cars Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to Embed Android Last we... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Networks' Ambitions to Launch 5G Early Raise Global Forecast New CCS Insight forecast predicts 5G connections will reac... Read more
More news