Earlier this week, Google rolled out its Chrome 69 browser, the latest upgrade for its market-leading web browser. New features and a refreshed design are all part of the package, but Chrome 69 has also managed to piss off many users. That’s because the browser no longer shows the www. for URLs.
It may seem a trivial change, but users are complaining. This relatively simple switch means a site like WinBuzzer is no longer displayed as www.winbuzzer.com in the Chrome 69 address bar. Instead, the URL reads as winbuzzer.com.
So, what’s the problem? If you have used Apple’s Safari (and many certainly have), then you will be very familiar with this no www. idea. Google thinks the address bar looks better within the “trivial subdomain”.
All Chrome 69 is really doing is hiding the www. Indeed, if you copy the URL and then paste it somewhere else (such as a Google search), the full URL is listed.
As mentioned, Apple has been doing this with Safari for years. However, in the case of Chrome 69, users are concerned about what Google’s intentions are. The Register reports a flaw in the browser could lead to two URLs looking the same. This would be a welcome weapon for bad actors to initiate phishing attacks.
“For example, www.pool.ntp.org and pool.ntp.org are two very different services – the former being a website, and the latter a round-robin of NTP time servers.”
The move could be part of Google’s overall changes of HTTP handling in Chrome 69. The browser now flags websites not delivered over HTTPS. Chrome previously displayed HTTPS sites as “secure”.
However, if a site is not using HTTPS it is denoted as “not secure” by the browser. when Chrome 69 arrives, the company will stop denoting HTTPS sites as secure and will instead display nothing for secure sites.