A recent Canary build of Google Chrome replaced the uniform resource locator (URL) of websites with the domain name of the website. So, for example, instead of www.imore.com/should-modern-web-browsers-show-url-or-just-site-name it would only give you imore.com. This has sparked an interesting debate about the nature of the web, technology, and usability. URLs are inhuman but they're also a foundational part of the web. So, should they be hidden away to make a simpler, cleaner web, or do they need to be preserved because they functionally matter? Allen Pike sums up where we are today:
More recently, browsers started hiding the URL scheme. http:// was no more, as far as most users were concerned. In iOS 7, Mobile Safari went even further and hid everything about the URL except the domain. With the Chrome "origin chip" change, the URL will move out of the field entirely, to a tidy little button that many users will never even realize is clickable.
There's a school of thought that, while it's not necessarily bad it's happening, Google's motivation is self-serving — continuing the deprecation of the URL to bolster the importance of search. I think that's more canard than Canary. Is there something more empowering and usable than showing the URL, even if it's simply not showing the URL? That's the only question that needs answering.
Personally, like the status bar, I'm okay with the URL not be shown by default as long as I have the ability to turn it on. Those who don't care don't need to know it exists, those who do can find it and make use of it. What do you think? Vote in the poll and tell me why in the comments.