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Google Is Serious, Chrome 13 Hides URL Bar 417

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the is-this-the-end dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A few months ago, we heard about Google playing with the idea of killing the URL bar in its Chrome browser. Chrome 13 provides a first view how this feature will work. There is a new flag and a context menu option that hides the traditional URL bar and moves a shortened version into each tab."
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Google Is Serious, Chrome 13 Hides URL Bar

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  • And all for what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:10PM (#36180326)

    And all this is being done for what? To give me 50 pixels? Whoop-dee-doo.

    • My screen is only 100 pixels tall, you insensitive clod!

      • by Chas (5144)

        My screen is only 100 pixels tall, you insensitive clod!

        It's not about the size. It's about how you use it. .....

        Nahhh! It's about the size.

        (Posted from a 24" 1920x1080 monitor)

    • It may be optional if it makes it to a stable build; in its current form it adds a menu option to the tabbar so it can be toggled at will.
      • I hope to everything that's holy and unholy that this will remain as a flag or a config setting, not some forced idiocy like hiding the "http://". The whole of Chrome is too well done to have them ruin it with a nonsensical move like this...

    • by tepples (727027)

      And all this is being done for what? To give me 50 pixels? Whoop-dee-doo.

      That's 8% of the height of my Dell netbook's screen, which a web application could use to show more information with less scrolling.

      • Re:And all for what? (Score:5, Informative)

        by _0xd0ad (1974778) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:16PM (#36180474) Journal

        If you need it, you can always hit F11.

    • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:39PM (#36180882) Homepage

      And all this is being done for what? To give me 50 pixels? Whoop-dee-doo.

      From Google's standpoint, lack of an address bar can steer more people back to Google for searches.

      From a user's point of view... Well, I use the address bar... But about 80% of my users do not. Even if I give them a web address, they'll go to Google/Yahoo/Bing/whatever and type it in there. So it wouldn't be much of a change for them.

      • by CCarrot (1562079)

        From a user's point of view... Well, I use the address bar... But about 80% of my users do not. Even if I give them a web address, they'll go to Google/Yahoo/Bing/whatever and type it in there. So it wouldn't be much of a change for them.

        I hear you. Trying to remotely 'troubleshoot' for my parents, it's often a struggle to get them to type the website into "the white box at the top of the screen, by the File/Edit/View thingys". About half the time they wind up typing whatever I tell them into the Google search bar, then we get to spend some quality time with them describing their search results and me trying to figure out which one is the one they want...to my dad, Google is 'the internet'.

        They are getting better at it...but I usually sti

    • More likely to enhance ad targeting, all your usual direct to server queries goes through Google search now, so they get properly tracked.
      • by Flipao (903929)

        More likely to enhance ad targeting, all your usual direct to server queries goes through Google search now, so they get properly tracked.

        Yeah yeah we know, now then, was that Facebook or Microsoft who paid your PR firm to say that?

        • by Americano (920576)

          Making this change does little for usability, and does a lot to promote using the "Search" box at the top of the browser -- note that the new "Compact" view still includes a "Search" field to the left of the tabs. When a user wants to enter a URL, where are they going to look? Riiiiight... for a text box. If the only visible textbox is actually the "search" field... well... you do the math.

          The new "compact" URL bar behaves like the current "Find" text entry box - it drops down out of the tab bar. But th

        • Uh, even wondered how Chrome does suggestions on the address bar? It sends everything you type to Google's Prediction Service [google.com].

    • No, it's so you can be like my wife and not go to sites by typing URLs directly into the URL box, but by visiting the Google homepage and type them in there.
    • by oakgrove (845019)
      Why not? This seems like a pretty good idea to me. Every little bit counts especially with netbooks and tablets.
  • by LunaticTippy (872397) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:11PM (#36180330)
    I am starting to dislike progress. I need a drink.
    • Starting you say?
    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:36PM (#36180844) Journal

      What bothered me is Chrome's removal of the bookmars bar. Now it is hidden under the settings menu. I should not have to do this each time I want to go to a bookmark. Worse, they removed the Google search engine bar at the top of the screen. Now I have to hit delete on an url and type whatever I want or click new tab and then type it. Under IE 9 and Firefox I just type in the search bar.

      Seriously Google, you are not saving space by removing these.

      "I am starting to dislike progress. I need a drink."

      I hear you. I had the unfortunate experience with using Fedora 15 with Gnome-shell last night. I just wiped the virtual partition and am installing Fedora 14 with Gnome 2.x for my unix web development. Sure I only have Postgresql 8.x and not 9.0.3 but I keep my sanity in the process.

      All I have to say is thank god for competition with 2 other good browsers. IE 9 actually doesn't suck! It is stunning and fast and in the same league as Firefox 4 and Chrome 10. Competition is a beautiful thing. Issue I have is that Firefox 4 does not accelerate video on Linux so if you have Ubuntu or Fedora you are stuck with Chrome if you want a semi good browsing experience which is annoying.

      • by NNKK (218503)

        What bothered me is Chrome's removal of the bookmars bar. Now it is hidden under the settings menu. I should not have to do this each time I want to go to a bookmark.

        WTF? Just click on "Always Show Bookmarks Bar". You don't have to do anything else. Ever. Your bookmarks bar will be there permanently.

        • by dave420 (699308)
          Or Ctrl+Shift+B to toggle it.
        • by Daetrin (576516)
          Of course if you have it always on you're wasting even more space than the URL box takes up, and if you don't have it on you have to click the tool icon thing, then click on the "Bookmark manager" option, which opens the bookmarks in a new tab, and then double-click on the bookmark you want to open it.

          Perhaps they should consider adding some kind of button you could click that would temporarily open the bookmarks bar and let you single click on a bookmark and then it would immediately open that page and t
        • by berwiki (989827)
          CTRL + SHIFT + B will pop the bookmark bar up/down for you.

          But I guess I am expecting too much for people to RTFM.

          And no, I haven't memorized hundreds of keyboard shortcuts. Just the ones that I found interesting/useful. (probably 5 or 6)
      • by Idbar (1034346)
        I think you missed the whole point. He won't be able to get a drink... because they hid the bar!

        I'll be here all week, don't forget to tip your waitress!
    • I am starting to dislike progress

      If only there were a button for that!...

  • When will I be able to set Chrome so that it doesn't use tabs and opens new windows instead? Firefox has always been able to do this. Why is Chrome forcing me to use tabs when I already have a perfectly nice window manager?
    • An excellent point. I find tabs are terribly useful on one screen but the utility of multiple windows rapidly overtakes the utility of multiple tabs by the time you have more than 1 monitor. Let the window manager do its job. Pointing out deficiencies is the easiest way to get it fixed in the proper layer.

      • by NNKK (218503)

        Tabs came about because nobody would fix the "proper layer". You understand it was over TEN YEARS before the first tabbed browsers started becoming popular, right?

  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:13PM (#36180386)

    Kind of a nice way to offset the loss of vertical pixels as monitors move from 4:3(1280*1024) to 16:10(1280*800) to 16:9(1366*768)..

    • True, a 720p class monitor is a downgrade. But when you replace a 1280x1024 pixel monitor with a 1920x1080 pixel monitor, you gain vertical pixels, and you also gain the ability to show two pages side-by-side.
      • even then, 1920*1200 monitors (16:10) have been replaced by 1920*1080 (16:9) ones

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Where?

          I've never had any 1920x1200 monitors. My previous ones were all lower resolutions. Now I've upgraded to dual 1920x1080 24" monitors since they're so cheap. Sure, they're wider than all my previous ones, but I haven't lost any vertical pixels.

          If those extra 180 pixels are so important to you, you can still buy 1920x1200 monitors for about $300.

          If anyone has traded out a perfectly-good 1920x1200 monitor for a 1920x1080 monitor, that was their own dumb choice and they have no cause to complain.

          • I meant in the market.

            It is difficult to find *any* monitors with a resolution higher than 1920*1080 (with the exception of 2 models, 1 by Dell another by Apple)

            Infact the highest resolution Dell lists on their website is 1920*1080, with the exception of a 30inch 2560*1600 monitor (http://accessories.ap.dell.com/sna/sna.aspx?c=in&cs=indhs1&l=en&s=dhs&~topic=ultrasharp_monitor)

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              No, it's not. I just looked on Newegg yesterday and found a bunch of models in 1920x1200, and a bunch in even higher resolutions.

              Here's about 30 models:
              link [newegg.com]

    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      1280x1024 is not 4:3 but it is a commonly supported video mode on 5:4 LCD panels, which were common before the "HD" television push which caused the 16:9 and 16:10 panels to flood the market.

      1280x960 is a commonly supported video mode on 4:3 CRT's. If you are using 1280x1024 on a 4:3 display then those pixels arent square.
  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:14PM (#36180410)
    I'm still waiting for a sleek UI with no buttons, sliders, toggles, or anything else. I just want a brushed aluminum skin on everything, with no controls at all.
  • Half of my clients seem to think typing something in google is how to get around on the internet. I still have to regularly explain bookmarks, favorites, etc and when troubleshooting half of the time they cant actually tell me the URL they are having trouble reaching or getting to work in their browser because all they do is type the name of the place in google, this change will simply help facilitate that ignorance. If it was infallible I wouldn't have a problem with it but search results vary and nearly

    • by rtaylor (70602) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:18PM (#36180516) Homepage

      Now you get the point. Google Search is the official bookmark system for Chrome and nobody needs to know the URL because you can always find the best information by punching keywords into your bookmark system.

      • by grapeape (137008)

        I would completely agree if it actually were the "best information", unfortunately with google and most other search engines it doesn't work that way. All to often the results are more the result of rank manipulation than by actual quality of information. Sometimes I think the biggest advancement in search engines would be for one to simply add a checkbox that allows the user to never see search results from certain sites again...if I could banish things like fixya, answers.yahoo.com and stuff like that i

    • Yeah, I've noticed this behavior in various users (and even otherwise-knowledgeable colleagues!) too. Drives me insane, why would you ever do that? If you know you want to go to youtube, typing youtube.com in your address bar is easier than going to Google, then searching for "youtube", then clicking. Or better still, put a damn bookmark in place.

      </rant>

      • Yeah, I've noticed this behavior in various users (and even otherwise-knowledgeable colleagues!) too. Drives me insane, why would you ever do that?

              Because it corrects spelling errors.

    • by Tikkun (992269)
      When your system doesn't map to the brain of the user that needs to use it, you change the system. Expecting the user to change for the system is futile.
    • Half of my clients seem to think typing something in Google is how to get around on the internet.

      So. Bing/Google/Yahoo are the new AOL. Just great... sigh.

  • Keyboard shortcut? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:16PM (#36180466)

    I wonder if I'll still be able to use the F6 shortcut to place the cursor in the address bar? Having to use the mouse to type in a web address would be enough to make me stop using chrome.

  • Okay, Chrome 13 has a flag to hide the URL bar. They've clearly spent hours of work enabling this behavior. While this story is less interesting because the feature is trivial and not even active by default, it is still very interesting because it's about a Google product. So thank you for the info.
  • I kinda see why they are doing this. They are trying to make web browsers more like using an application vs. browsing. And in Web Applications Coding it so it can handle Forward, Back and Refresh, and links to the location bar adds complexity of your code. However it seems they are doing this at the expense of non-Web Applications. Eg. I went to Slashdot I saw this article. I clicked on the link read the content and hit the back button then hit comments.
    I would prefer a way for HTML to tell the browser t

    • I would prefer a way for HTML to tell the browser that I am an application where I forbid the back and forward buttons to work on my tab (or have it go back to the external site that found it)

      Then add an event listener for clicks on your links that does {location.replace(some_other_url); return false}.

  • Direct understandable interfaces changed to obfuscated, hidden, over-engineered nonsense. Is Google now taking its cues from the MIcrosoft Office interface design team?

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      Direct understandable interfaces changed to obfuscated, hidden, over-engineered nonsense. Is Google now taking its cues from the MIcrosoft Office interface design team?

      Sadly, everyone seems to be trying to ape Windows these days. Last night I told my Ubuntu laptop to shut down and Gnome gave me some stupid Windows-style 'Program Unknown is not responding' dialog box. Like I give a crap, kill -15 and shut down.

      Ugh. If I wanted to run Windows I'd be running Windows.

  • by m_chan (95943) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:18PM (#36180514) Homepage
    There are similar add-ons for Chrome, but Vimperator [vimperator.org] on Firefox is fabulous for my needs. Everything else looks a cluttered, redundant mess. I am despise the URL bar.
  • Phishing trip (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Candid88 (1292486) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:19PM (#36180534)

    This is a guaranteed fraud magnet.

  • The main reason I DON'T use Chrome is because I LIKE having my 12+ most-used sites in a drop-down URL bar, like every other major browser has. I don't want to click on pictures.

    Having to open a new tab, then having to figure out which of the 8 (only 8) pictures corresponds with the web site I am trying to get, then clicking it, is WAY more complicated. And sites that use similar color schemes are hard to tell apart at first glance in the little picture.

    Google, some of us are text-based (CLI forever) peopl

    • by Sepodati (746220)

      You call yourself a text-based/CLI person, yet you're complaining there's no clickable dropdown menu for chrome? Control-T for new tab (focus goes to address bar) or Control-L to put focus in the address bar and start typing the website that you want. Since you're a text person, you know. Pretty sure websites are autocomplete for commonly used ones and a dropdown listing appears with others that you can scroll down to and select with the arrow keys. I would hope that Control-L still shows the address bar wh

  • by grahamtriggs (572707) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:24PM (#36180634)

    One of the most useful 'innovations' in browsers over the years - aside from tabs - has been the permanent search box, so that we can fire off searches really easily.

    Chrome combined this into the URL box as - reasonably - we don't need two separate boxes cluttering up the display.

    But now to hide the combi-box takes away the useful feature that we had - the ever-present search box.

    Plus, lets not forget that this is a phishers wet dream - you mean we can't see the url of the page we are looking at, just how it looks, and the title in tab? Hide the url, and it becomes a lot more difficult to be sure that the page you are submitting details to is the page that you intended.

    Although I'm currently a Chrome user, I will switch away if this change gets forced on me.

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      This is about the URL bar, which sadly, doubles as a search box. I, for the record, HATE this feature so much, that I use firefox, and whenever I have a new install, seek out the about:config option that lets me disable it.

      I have never, in 15 years of being on the web, have typed into that bar and WANTED it to do a search. I have a permanent search box... NEXT TO the URL bar. That I love.

      Why?

      Simple, sometimes I setup web apps, or even develop them. When i type a url in, I want it to go there. if it can't, I

  • by WebManWalking (1225366) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:35PM (#36180822)
    ... as in window.location.href. MS just had to be different, so they (and only they) call it the Address Bar. But please, not a third name.

    As for the change, I don't care as long as Control-L (Windows) or Command-L (Mac) * unhides it and selects all of the current page's URL, so that typing replaces it. That's the way power users type a new URL using only the keyboard anyway.

    * That's L, as in "Location Bar". Works in MSIE too, but without the current page's URL.
    • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

      Control-L (Windows) ... Works in MSIE too, but without the current page's URL

      Try Alt-D.

  • Now if you see a screenshot of a browser viewing a website you also see the URL (in the location bar).
    In Chrome you won't. This is bad. The URL is best thing about the internet.

  • As the article itself points out, this makes it harder to see the URL of a site you visit. Anything that makes it harder for users to carry out the most basic security precautions is a Very Bad Thing. Seriously. The phishers must be positively drooling over this new user interface.

    Interface minimalism is all well and good, but there are some things that need to be shown constantly. The URL bar is one of them.

  • If they hide the URL bar, most people (as many already do) will search Google for a site they already know the URL of. A lot of the users of our site type our URL into Google's search and then click the top link. Google doing this, just makes them serve up more search results ending up in more revenue for Google.

  • The idea is appealing, but in this day of high resolution screens it's largely irrelevant. Years ago, when I was browsing in 640x480 and then 800x600 trying to fit as much content on the screen as I could was important. Back then I browsed with the window maximized. Nowadays my browsers are windowed. Sites are so much longer than the vertical height of the window that an extra 40-50 pixels is irrelevant. The vertical orientation of tablets also makes this pointless.

    The one environment where this helps is on

  • The same amount of brilliance as Windows helpfully offering to hide the extensions of known file types. #DoNotWant
  • by Random2 (1412773) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @01:12PM (#36181438) Journal

    And then we'll see add-ons for chrome that display the URL.

    Full circle!

  • If memory serves me right, didn't the early versions of AOL work a similar way as the Chrome browser? A user types in a keyword into the AOL broswer and AOL matched the keyword with a URL, website pops up. A user types a keyword in Chrome and Chrome searches your history or uses Google's search engine to match the keyword with a URL, website pops up. I know you can change the search engines in Chrome but the end result is the same; the user doesn't have to know how the Internet works to use the Internet.

  • Summary is wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @01:38PM (#36181882)

    I'm a Chrome engineer. This summary is wrong. The Compact Nav mode is an experiment we're testing. There are no plans right now to turn it on by default for Chrome 13 or any other Chrome release, and in fact there are currently far too many issues with it for us to fix in the M13 timeframe even if we wanted to turn it on by default.

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