It is being reported that Google’s Chrome browser is dropping the display of the “http://” in web addresses, and the reporter asks if this is really a big deal.
For the masses, blissfully unaware of the convention that is used, and has been used for years and years, the answer would be no, however, since other constructs use the double slash and colon after announcing what method is being used to make the connection, these same people may be in for a rude awakening when they start trying to use an FTP program, or the built in FTP properties of the browser.
I’m not one who insists upon complete formality, but there was a reason for the convention, and since other things use that same convention, it is important to at least know it. This is similar to the fact that file:/// is used for things local to the machine.
Google’s Chrome browser will no longer include http:// as part of the URL field. It was only six months ago that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, admitted that the double slash punctuation in the URL was “a mistake”, and Google have seem to have acknowledged this revelation.
However as OSNews points out, this has indeed ruffled some veteran’s feathers. Nowadays, FTP, HTTPS and other protocols which are non-HTTP are still used – iTunes and Magnet links for example. But Google’s stance on this could lead to a further roll-out of changes to other browsers and set a Microsoft-Mozilla “RSS icon” precedent.
I don’t think it’s that much of a deal, frankly. When have you ever heard on the television, radio, or in print media the use of ‘http://’? You don’t, because it’s practically unnecessary, and seeing as Chrome is ‘the search browser’, the need for manually inputting URL’s in my eyes has been questioned for years with Google being able to pretty much find exactly what you want, when you want it.
With the changes in Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.x and the highlighting of secure websites, and anti-phishing filters which enable the user to see the full address path, I can see why people may be hesitant to adopt the new non-http approach. However taking out the http:// bit will have little difference, secure sites will still be highlighted as such, and sub-domains will simply come before the domain name and replace the www.
Sure, it might look a bit odd at first and take some getting used to visually, but at least we won’t be getting rid of the forward slashes altogether.
I see this as I see many things today that are being relaxed. If you know where it comes from, you are alright; but if you have no clue about what came before you are in trouble.
[My favorite thing that I get very upset about in its relaxation of formality is the word “judgement”. Though it is popular to drop the first “e”, that makes for a word that strictly does not sound the same, as there are no words in the English language where a “g” is soft, when not followed by an i,e, or y. Yet some dim bulb decided it would be alright to drop the first “e”. The dictionary still gives both as standard spellings, but if you do any reading of things from the U.K, they have not dropped the “e”. I won’t be doing so any time soon.] The dropping of the http:// will lead to similar problems, that, while not monumental, are a bigger deal than would be had by simply keeping to the convention.
This is one of those things that no one will notice from a galloping horse, but since no browser forces the http:// to be entered by the user, why is it a big deal if the browser does the correct thing and reminds the user that it is there?
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