THE END OF THE URL

GOOGLE WANTS TO CHANGE THE WEB AD­DRESS

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THE UNI­FORM RE­SOURCE LO­CA­TOR (URL) is messy, con­fus­ing, and can get long—mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to re­mem­ber, and easy to fake. Most peo­ple re­ally don’t want or need to know the full path of a web­page. Google has been mus­ing on this for years, and is get­ting ready to un­veil an al­ter­na­tive sys­tem, which will re­move the clut­ter, and leave a more nat­u­ral English URL. “We want to move to­ward a place where web iden­tity is un­der­stand­able by ev­ery­one,” said Chrome’s en­gi­neer­ing man­ager, Adriene Porter Felt.

It’s not re­ally in the hands of Google, of course. How­ever much it would like to, Google doesn’t ac­tu­ally con­trol the In­ter­net, al­though it does have the world’s most pop­u­lar browser. It was in­stru­men­tal be­hind the move to HTTPS en­cryp­tion, for ex­am­ple. Whether such a fun­da­men­tal change should, or can, be made at browser level is an­other mat­ter, how­ever good the idea. The se­cu­rity is­sues are paramount; get this wrong, and it’ll ex­plode. Ex­actly how Google will make the switch re­mains to be seen, but some­thing’s com­ing.

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