Bill Hartzer

Google Continues Its Attack on the URL

Google continues it’s attack on the URL so to speak, showing URLs less than they have been in the past. In this latest attack on the URL, Google seems to be “pressing on with new plans to hide all parts of web addresses except the domain name.”

In an upcoming version of Google Chrome, they will hide a lot of the URL except for the domain name. However, in the past, Google has experimented with completely hiding the domain name in the search engine results. They did this as far back as 2015.

Google actually blames their hiding of the URL a security risk.

According to a statement earlier this year by a Google software engineer, showing the full URL can be a security risk. “Showing the full URL may detract from the parts of the URL that are more important to making a security decision on a webpage,” said Chromium software engineer Livvie Lin.

It’s been pretty clear for a while now that one of the goals of Google’s AMP was to keep users on Google web properties as much as possible. And this is not the first time I’ve seen this. For example, in my analysis of the Google My Business business.site “free websites” that are given to Google My Business listing owners, the outgoing links are mainly to Google properties. And most visitors to those free websites tend to go back to Google properties. For example, they go back to a Google property when clicking on a link to get directions. 69 percent of the outgoing traffic on a business.site website goes right back to Google.

“However, it’s also worth considering that making the web address less important, as this feature does, benefits Google as a company….Modifying addresses on the desktop is another step towards making them irrelevant, which hurts the decentralized nature of the internet as a whole.”, said Corbin Davenport.

I recently talked with Kristine Schachinger from Sites without Walls. She told me, “If you cannot disable this, guess it is time to say goodbye to Google Chrome except when work dictates I have to use it…and though they state it is about safety, this is likely the REAL reason they are doing it.” Google’s modifying URLs wherever they can, so make them more irrelevant.

Google will continue to try to hide the URL, as they don’t want visitors to leave Google properties whenever possible. It only benefits Google when visitors consume content and don’t leave a Google property. We’ve seen this in AMP, and they’ve experimented over and over again with showing the URLs versus hiding URLs in the search engine results.

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