Here’s How to Disable Google Chrome’s Confusing New URL Hiding Scheme

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UPDATE (September 17, 2018): Google Backs Off on Unwise URL Hiding Scheme, but Only Temporarily

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A couple of months ago, in “Chrome Is Hiding URL Details — and It’s Confusing People Already!” (https://lauren.vortex.com/2018/07/10/chrome-is-hiding-url-details-and-its-confusing-people-already), I noted the significant problems already being triggered by Google’s new URL modification scheme in Chrome Beta. Now that these unfortunate changes have graduated to the current standard, stable version of Chrome, more complaints about this are pouring in to me from many more users.

I don’t normally recommend altering Chrome’s inner sanctum of “experimental” settings unless you’re a hardcore techie who fully understands the implications. But today I’m making an exception and will explain how you can disable these new URL handling behaviors and return Chrome to its previous (safer and logical) URL display methodology — at least until such a time as Google decides to force this issue and removes this option.

Ready? Here we go.

In the URL bar at the top of the browser (technically, the “omnibox”), type:

chrome://flags

then hit ENTER. You’ll find yourself in Chrome’s experimental area, replete with a warning in red that we’ll ignore today. In the “Search flags” box (just above the word “Experiments”), type:

steady

In the section labeled “Available” you should now find:

Omnibox UI Hide Steady-State URL Scheme and Trivial Subdomains

Obviously, the Chrome team and I have a difference of opinion about what is meant by “trivial” in this context.  Anyway, directly to the right you should now see an option box. Click the box and change the setting from:

Default

to:

Disabled

A large button labeled RELAUNCH NOW should be at the lower right. Go ahead and click it to restart the browser to make this change take effect immediately (if you have anything important in other open tabs, instead relaunch on your own later to protect your work).

That’s all, folks! The familiar URL behaviors should be restored, for now anyway.

Be seeing you.

–Lauren–