For the past three years or so, Google has been working on a project behind the scenes with the goal to hide full URLs in the address bar. Now, Google is pulling the plug on its Chrome experiment and will not hide URLs.

Google’s experiments with hiding the URL bar have gone through a few iterations, but the biggest move came in Chrome 86 where Google actively hid the full URL in the omnibox. So, in the example shared by Android Police at the time and pictured above, a Wikipedia page would show the “en.wikipedia.org” but would hide the rest of the URL until you clicked on it.

That behavior stuck around in Canary and other builds for a while, but never made it to stable builds as criticism from users continued. Google’s goal for the change was to make it easier for users to see malicious URLs. Google explained:

We’re implementing this simplified domain display experiment so that we can conduct qualitative and quantitative research to understand if it helps users identify malicious websites more accurately.

As it turns out, though, this change didn’t really make a difference. While URLs were simplified by hiding the second half, Google says that the experiment “didn’t move” security metrics for Chrome users studied. As a result, this initiative is being scrapped entirely.

Delete simplified domain experiment. This experiment didn’t move relevant security metrics, so we’re not going to launch it. :(

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