Google Chrome drops "http://"

OSnews points out that Google has decided to purposely remove the http:// from current development builds of its Chrome browser. The change was noticed when a user reported it as a bug in the issues section of the chromium Google Code page. A coder then responded that this is a new "feature" and not a bug. Many of the comments that followed were of negativity. People don't seem to be too fond of the http:// removal.

One issue that could arise from the omittance of http:// is that applications requiring this part of the URL will be left in the cold. However, Google is apparently taking care of by adding the http:// part to the clipboard for when you copy and paste URLs to and from the URL bar (still a work in progress). This is an interesting solution and it remains to be seen how effective it will actually be. So far, users are complaining that this completely breaks standard clipboard functionality, causing ill effects.

While Google might be leaving http:// high and dry, not-so-distant cousins, ftp:// and https:// will continue their welcomed stay in Google's speedy little browser. Many are saying that this is confusing, inconsistent, and should not be done. In any case, users rarely type http:// in the first place. Google seems to be feeding off of this fact. However, before such a "feature" can become the norm, the public (not to mention other browsers) will eventually have to accept it.

Chrome - No http://

Image taken from code.google.com.

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98 Comments

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Well http:// is back in the latest built. Now if they had a option to remove it again. I liked the removal of the redundant info.

As far as I am concerned this should have been the standard way of operating since day 1. Of course, back then they probably have the foresight to know that http:// would completely take over and dominate. FTP and https:// have their uses but they are specialized. Let's not even bother mentioning the gopher:// protocol. Oops, I just did.

This is the stuff that makes technology "hard" for normal people. I mean, it keeps me employed so it isn't all bad but normal people shouldn't seed to see this techie stuff.

James Brooks said,
What is silly about this is the peoples response. How often do you actually type http://
Wasted time adding a useless feature is the problem, not whether or not you actually type http://...

I'm all for it. URLs are unnecessarily complex for no good reason. The www part could be dropped most of the time (even if the browser really uses it in the background - just not visible to the user)

i don't care what stupid defaults they come up with, where's my "about:config" page so i can tweak all settings to my liking?

They should make it so when you select the URL field, the entire URL shows, but hide the HTTP(S)/ at all other times.

Interesting that nobody types the http:// anymore. Seriously, nobody? Am I the only person on the planet that hits Win+R and types in a URL to launch a web site? For me, it's the fastest possible way to get to a site that I don't I have bookmarked. No matter what the current state of my desktop may be, I don't have to click anything--just win+r and my hands are already at the keyboard.

While the Run box doesn't require http:// for any address beginning with www, all other sites need it, so I've stayed fully in the habit.

Visually, having http:// in front makes an address look more balanced, anyway. The / at the end is just too jarring with the tiny www alone in front.

More importantly...why the heck did this ever come up? A crapload of us use the internet now and are familiar with http. It's zero learning curve. How is this a problem in need of solving?

This somehow reminds me of Fark headlines like "Scientists discover _____. Still no cure for cancer."

/still no cure for neowin's missing line breaks

LGraves said,
Nobody types it in so why use it? Or why see it? It's Aesthetic to me but I appreciate it.
I agree, but on the contrary, why bother removing it if everyone ignores it anyway?

Instead, they spent time removing it from display (even if it was only a minute or two to change it) instead of time spent improving or adding new features.

I fail to see a good and valid reason to not display HTTP:// it in the address bar.
However, if they were to remove other protocols like FTP:// and HTTPS:// and show them to the user using a colored address bar or icons or whatever, I think I may like that.

Also, they need to make it right when copying and pasting URL to and from other applications. I would hate to see the URL not being highlighted on other sites/editors/apps.

But removing just one is pointless IMHO.

ajua said,
I fail to see a good and valid reason to not display HTTP:// it in the address bar.
However, if they were to remove other protocols like FTP:// and HTTPS:// and show them to the user using a colored address bar or icons or whatever, I think I may like that.

Also, they need to make it right when copying and pasting URL to and from other applications. I would hate to see the URL not being highlighted on other sites/editors/apps.

But removing just one is pointless IMHO.

The point is http is the default show why show that to your typical user who does not have a clue what http is anyways. Just displaying the domain is cleaner.


Still show https and ftp since they are not the default and I agree with how it now is

It's not really dropping it, simply hide it, so the www. would still be there.


And yes those are config issues like u said.

Edited by war, Apr 20 2010, 8:36pm :

Quigley Guy said,
Making way for the google SPDY protocol?

Google clearly has its own agenda and they are pushing it with Chrome.

Edited by gonchuki, Apr 20 2010, 7:09pm :

This doesn't make a lot of sense to me, the only people removing this could help in anyway are the very same people it's going to end up totally confusing. They'll get used to not using it then wonder why links they post to websites, instant-messengers and pretty much everything else on the web don't work "/
I equally don't get why they keep the www. which serves absolutely no useful purpose at all anymore, i'm not even aware of any domains that require that subdomain anymore. Keep the http and get rid of the www imo.

Having a www subdomain is up to the website. If you type in "google.com" and hit enter, google.com tells your browser to go to "http://www.google.com"; Browsers don't add the www just for kicks.

"http://www.domain.tld"; is very different from "domain.tld"

(Edit: funny how neowin adds the http:// when I don't type it as we're discussing chrome removing it, it makes it hard to show what I'm talking about when the site manipulates my strings)

Edited by Memnochxx, Apr 20 2010, 4:07am :

.Neo said,
Knowing Google this change alone will warrant them to up the version number by a full point.
Yeah we should sill be at v0.4 or something.

meshiga said,
Its one step ahead to their own http called spdy

Just what I thought; perhaps subconsciously preparing users. Surprised no one else brough this up

There is not really any reason for it to be there as long as the browser indicates an ftp session or a secure connection some other way.
But c'mon, who types http:// anymore?

The only one reason it's even remotely important these days, that's to distinguish if you're accessing a secure connection. Even that is a laughable excuse to hold on to it as some browsers already show the address bar in a different color to indicate a secure connection.

Personally, I so no reason what-so-ever to keep http://.

nekkidtruth said,
The only one reason it's even remotely important these days, that's to distinguish if you're accessing a secure connection. Even that is a laughable excuse to hold on to it as some browsers already show the address bar in a different color to indicate a secure connection.

Personally, I so no reason what-so-ever to keep http://.

For me, its a subtle reminder that the World-Wide-Web is NOT the Internet. Although a lot of people think that it is, and if it is there or not won't make any difference. I digress....

nekkidtruth said,
The only one reason it's even remotely important these days, that's to distinguish if you're accessing a secure connection. Even that is a laughable excuse to hold on to it as some browsers already show the address bar in a different color to indicate a secure connection.

Personally, I so no reason what-so-ever to keep http://.

Agree! It just confuses the typical user anyways who has no clue what http is or why its there.

One issue that could arise from the omittance of http:// is that applications requiring this part of the URL will be left in the cold. However, Google is apparently taking care of by adding the http:// part to the clipboard for when you copy and paste URLs to and from the URL bar (still a work in progress). This is an interesting solution and it remains to be seen how effective it will actually be. So far, users are complaining that this completely breaks standard clipboard functionality, causing ill effects.

Firefox also manipulates links copy-pasted from the address bar.... and i never heard ANYONE complain about that, dont see why they complain about this from google ;/ its just a visual change

Shadowzz said,

Firefox also manipulates links copy-pasted from the address bar.... and i never heard ANYONE complain about that, dont see why they complain about this from google ;/ its just a visual change

And how does Firefox do this? I don't see anything like this in any version of Firefox I've ever used...

Shadrack said,
"http://";, "https://";, "ftp://" etc. don't really mean anything to the masses of Internet users. It does, however, mean something to me. I'm not sure how I feel about this...

Problem is, they DO matter to the masses, they're what protocol they're using...

That's like saying most people odnt know the differences between a desile engine and a gas one....so they shouldnt label them at the pump... it's still very important which is which.

AgentGray said,
Problem is, they DO matter to the masses, they're what protocol they're using...

Simple concept: a telephone call is a telephone call. Whether made from a Landline, a Wireless carrier, a VoIP handset, or across two tin cans.

When the method matters, then end-users can specify. In all other contexts the most standard protocol (http://) should be readily ignored from BEING DISPLAYED.

Nas said,

Simple concept: a telephone call is a telephone call. Whether made from a Landline, a Wireless carrier, a VoIP handset, or across two tin cans.

When the method matters, then end-users can specify. In all other contexts the most standard protocol (http://) should be readily ignored from BEING DISPLAYED.

So if the protocol is not displayed, the end-user should not know it's http?

Edited by abecedarian paradoxious, Apr 20 2010, 2:42pm :

Regression_88 said,
So if the protocol is not displayed, the end-user should not know it's http?

Correct. If you don't see http then you assume it is http. I just don't see what the big deal is. The cut and paste issue makes sense, but that has been fixed. I am sure any other developer related problems will also be worked out. I personally like simplicity. I would rather have more room on the address bar for the stuff that counts. If you really insist on being super l331, then use FireFox I guess.

th3rEsa said,
So what? Other browsers are able to do that for.. years?

Think you misunderstood the article. When you type a web address without the http:// it is automatically added at the start, Chrome does away with it altogether, so its not even displayed.

Hmm, looks like I misunderstood it indeed. So what's with ftp and https then?
(And: LOL, months after Google's SPDY replacement for HTTP was denied.. LOL.)

th3rEsa said,
Hmm, looks like I misunderstood it indeed. So what's with ftp and https then?
(And: LOL, months after Google's SPDY replacement for HTTP was denied.. LOL.)

It still shows https and ftp. The main thing is that it isn't showing http, because it doesn't really need to be seen and confuses new users

Has anyone tried to access a dlink or linksys home router using the 192.168. address they give and done it without adding http? I just tried it and at least in the 2 units i have here it doesnt work. Granted I was using FF for this test not this new Chrome version, but I cant wait to see how Google gets around that for all the people who have hardware that needs to be configured via a browser (Wait google cloud will fix it so that no hardware will ever need to be configured /sarcasm)

That would be specific to how Firefox handles the request. If there is a http server running at an IP address it is there no matter how you define the URL.

Peculiar. I never type in the http:// when navigating to my router's configuration page and have never had a problem in either FF or Chrome.

AltoidBox said,
Peculiar. I never type in the http:// when navigating to my router's configuration page and have never had a problem in either FF or Chrome.

Same here. Very weird.

dukelion said,
Why fix it if its not broke?

They probably think it improves usability. They only mean well. Ironically, it actually makes it harder to understand.

Instead, they should use some sort of colour highlighting to make it less visible.

Meph said,

They probably think it improves usability. They only mean well. Ironically, it actually makes it harder to understand.

Instead, they should use some sort of colour highlighting to make it less visible.

They already do. They make the domain darker... And I agree. It seems silly.

M_Lyons10 said,

They already do. They make the domain darker... And I agree. It seems silly.

Am starting to think it was a woman who coded this
Silly or not it you have to admit it does make the URL look 'prettier'

Dead'Soul said,

reading web site's name clearly

really doesn't make any difference..
doesn't chrome mark the domain anyway?

Leonick said,

really doesn't make any difference..
doesn't chrome mark the domain anyway?

Exactly. I agree. That's one of my favorite features in Chrome (Though I use Firefox more, I do like Chrome). This seems silly.

Leonick said,

really doesn't make any difference..
doesn't chrome mark the domain anyway?

It doesn't to old people who are already familiar with it. Newcomers though don't have to learn about this "http://"; stuff, as it doesn't mean anything to them.

Great decision Google. I'm surprised it's not Apple who came out with this first, they are more like the kind of company who loves simplifying things, not Google. Also, making the rest of the URL a lighter gray makes it even more readable. Really, great job on Google Chrome.

PsykX said,

It doesn't to old people who are already familiar with it. Newcomers though don't have to learn about this "http://"; stuff, as it doesn't mean anything to them.

Great decision Google. I'm surprised it's not Apple who came out with this first, they are more like the kind of company who loves simplifying things, not Google. Also, making the rest of the URL a lighter gray makes it even more readable. Really, great job on Google Chrome.


Yea i i agree, its more than a 'constant' than it was a 'variable' these days, so showing its kind of irrelevant. Also it makes the URL more elegant

Escalade_GT said,
So what's to gain by removing it?

Screen space is valuable on netbooks. Which would you rather remove from the screen, http:// or the tail end of the address? I think you have a bunch of geeks that are upset because they will no longer get to answer the question, "what does http stand for".

Edited by ermax, Apr 20 2010, 10:33am :

Purify said,
Speechless.
Their decision seems silly...
At least on one of my domains, wildcard isn't enabled so the http:// is REQUIRED while www can't be used. I wonder how Chrome handles this.

I too am speechless.

cybertimber2008 said,
Their decision seems silly...
At least on one of my domains, wildcard isn't enabled so the http:// is REQUIRED while www can't be used. I wonder how Chrome handles this.

I too am speechless.


Give us a link and we'll find out.

cybertimber2008 said,
Their decision seems silly...
At least on one of my domains, wildcard isn't enabled so the http:// is REQUIRED while www can't be used. I wonder how Chrome handles this.

I too am speechless.

It actually does this by removing the http:// from being shown. You can still type it for the URL.

cybertimber2008 said,
Their decision seems silly...
At least on one of my domains, wildcard isn't enabled so the http:// is REQUIRED while www can't be used. I wonder how Chrome handles this.

I too am speechless.

To an end-user http:// makes no sense. They just want to type the domain name in and go to the website. The browser automatically tries to connect to port 80 of the web server in any case except when you provide the port or change protocols. Chrome still continues to recognize other protocols and ports, so I don't see why this is going to be a problem.


Now about the Clipboard functionality, that is a problem because usability-wise, it is not intuitive to expect http:// prepended to anything that is copied from the address bar. Most parsers won't recognize text as links without seeing http:// or another protocol at the beginning.

Edited by Jebadiah, Apr 20 2010, 4:26am :