- Google operates the most popular web browser in the world in Google Chrome.
- The Google Chrome team is looking at ways to revolutionize URLs — to make them both easier to understand and more secure.
- Google Chrome may share some of its ideas publicly later this year, or in early 2019.
The team behind Google Chrome, the most popular web browser in the world, is considering an idea that would change the way we all use the internet, according to a new report from Wired.
Whenever you open your web browser to visit a website today, you either search for the site's name in a search engine like Google, or you type out a specific address, or URL, into the browser.
But while remembering some URLs can be easy — adding a ".com" to most business names usually does the trick — it's not perfect. Some websites now have different domains to remember, like ".biz" or ".info," and since most people on smartphones usually can't see the entire URL they're visiting, it's easy for cybercriminals to trick people into thinking they're on a trusted website.
For these reasons and others, the Google Chrome team thinks it's time to come up with a better solution.
"They’re hard to read, it’s hard to know which part of them is supposed to be trusted, and in general I don’t think URLs are working as a good way to convey site identity," Adrienne Porter Felt, engineering manager at Google Chrome, told Wired.
"So we want to move toward a place where web identity is understandable by everyone — they know who they’re talking to when they’re using a website and they can reason about whether they can trust them. But this will mean big changes in how and when Chrome displays URLs. We want to challenge how URLs should be displayed and question it as we’re figuring out the right way to convey identity."
The Google Chrome team still hasn't finalized a solution to URLs — the Wired report said the Chrome team "is still divided on the best solution to propose ... and the group won't offer any examples at this point of the types of schemes they are considering." But the ideal solution will be more secure than the current setup, and more convenient for people to remember, too.
Google Chrome's engineering manager Adrienne Porter Felt said her team "will be more ready to talk publicly about its ideas this fall or in the spring."