Cleaner URL, now also in Microsoft Edge Chromium

There was a time, the youngest will not remember it, when you had to write the complete url, that is, with http: // in the address bar of the browser. There was also a time when all web page addresses started with www. What’s more, I still remember saying “Let’s see, aim, hache, te, te, pe, colon, bar, bar, double vee, double vee, double vee …”. Although over the years the protocol stopped being preceded by the url, and the three double vee were no longer a standard, in a stupid nostalgia exercise some of us still wrote the protocol and felt a rare satisfaction in putting the triple w.

It is, I say, an exercise in pure and unnecessary nostalgia, which in reality contributes quite little in most cases, and for this reason, some time ago, browsers chose to hide the protocol in the address bar. And yes, I know that it is not the same if http is used than if https is used, and that this information is important, but precisely for that reason it has been chosen to remove it from the address text but, at the same time, to show a graphic element that informs about security and that, when clicked, gives additional information, in addition to allowing certain security-related settings to be made.

And now, moving in that direction, and almost simultaneously, the Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge Chromium development teams have decided to go one step further, also eliminating the subdomain in the address bar. The subdomain, for those who do not know it, is all the text that is to the left of the point that is furthest to the right of the domain in the address. For example, on www.sitioweb.es the subdomain would be www. In mail.mycompany.com would be mail and in catalogo.tienda.chuchelandia.es, the subdomain would be catalogo.tienda. Thus, only the server would be displayed.

The process, yes, has been approached in different ways by both teams. Those responsible for Google Chrome, little “fans” of the urls, and who has already taken some steps forward and some steps backward, have chosen to include it in the V86, something that has elicited mixed responses, with some users indicating their preference because such information is displayed. More cautious, the developers of Edge Chromium, as reported by MSpoweruser, have chosen to include this feature in Canary (the label that defines your trial versions) and ask your users what they think of this change.

This modification in the display of the url, of course, has advantages and disadvantages. On the bad side, and unlike what happens with the protocol used, there is no element that tells us if we are in a subdomain and, if so, in which one. In many cases its value is purely informative (which is not a little), but in others it serves to distinguish, for example, in which service of a website we are starting a session, in cases where the services are organized in subdomains.

In return, this change can be translated into a security improvement for users less familiar with the url structure. In many scams, it is common to impose legitimate websites, putting their names as subdomains. And since in the entire western world we read from left to right, the first thing these people see is the name of the entity, company or service imposed, and in many cases they do not pay attention to the rest. I speak of urls as tubanco.oficinaonline.servicios.xyz.es.

As you can see, in this case the real server is xyz.es (which, coincidentally, is precisely from the sites that practice the subdomain technique that appears to be from another server, in addition to imposing the image of the digital edition of the newspaper El Mundo , it is best not to open it), but some people will stay in tubanco or, at most, in an online office. And the longer the url, the more chances that those users will not reach the real server (I have seen cases in which the address bar was full of junk information and some subdomain, forcing you to move to the right until you can check the real server).

What do you think? Better with or without protocol and subdomains? Better a cleaner address or more information?

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