Since the beginnings of the Internet, we have become accustomed to having the URL bar be a permanent part of the browser window – always ready and available to navigate the user to their desired Web destination.
But now, browser companies like Google Chrome and Mozilla are working toward a one-click browser model that focuses on Web apps rather than websites. Of course, the absence of the address bar would also create a more spacious screen for browsing.
Experts say there are both positive and negative aspects that would come along with this new way to navigate the Web. According to PCWorld, users would be granted more screen space (approximately 30 pixels in Google’s Chrome), but they would also have less power over how they manage and navigate the Web.
Much like any innovation that comes to market, like the advent of touchscreen smartphones, the tech market dictates to us (the user) on how we should go about using new devices. While it would take some getting used to, users would just have to follow in accordance with the location bar missing in action.
Google Chrome’s “Canary,” still in the earlier stages of development on Windows, would be designed with a “compact navigation” feature. Once a user decides to hide the URL bar, they can then only view it when they click on a tab at the top of the browser.
With a move to app-like browsing, Google seems to be attempting to mimic the way users engage their iPhone or other smartphone device. With one click, users are taken to their desired site, be it Facebook.com, or NYTimes.com, through the sites’ software applications. Therefore, instead of clicking on a URL bar to type an address, users would instead click on an array of icons saved on their start tab.
Meanwhile, Mozilla released last week its LessChrome HD add-on for Firefox 4, which automatically hides all toolbars, including the URL bar, until a user places his or her mouse pointer on a tab.
Sounds convenient, right? Well, of course, there is a downside to these navigation methods, and a significant one at that. According to PCWorld, the absence of a URL bar could limit a user’s ability to know where a link is leading to. Phishing sites may lead users to blindly follow a link or trick them into believing that a specific page is authentic when it really isn’t.
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Tammy Wolf is a TechZone360 web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.Edited by Jennifer Russell
TechZone360 Web Editor