With Google allowing users to hide the address bar in canary builds of Chrome 13, Mozilla has decided to release the LessChrome HD extension which pretty much does the same thing. This has seemingly sparked a bit of a debate in the browser industry, as the address bar has always been an integral part of the web browser.
In reaction to news reports that both Google and Mozilla are experimenting with options that will let Firefox and Chrome users hide or outright terminate the address bar to free up more screen estate, Matthew Gertner, the CEO of Salsita Software, had the following to say:
Who would have thought that the humble browser URL bar would spark so much interest? This is more about the browser wars than anything. People like to focus on areas where browsers are copying each other. I see this as another example of Chrome going after Firefox by eliminating even more of the browser. This is another shot across Mozilla’s bow.
Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC who monitors browsers, agreed with Gertner on the browser competition angle, but praised Mozilla for reacting so hastily to Google’s option.
I am impressed with how quickly Mozilla was able to respond to what Google is doing with Chrome, showing that the timelines for browser innovation has truly shifted,” said Hilwa in an email reply to questions today.
Both individuals agreed that the issue was more elaborate than the address bar, however.
The URL bar is a non-story. The much deeper question is how browsers are evolving beyond a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. – Gertner
There’s more going on here than just full-screen browsing. We’re ripe for innovation in this space. – Hilwa
Opinions wary from whether Google’s move to make Chrome’s address bar optional shows the company’s focus on search, and could be seen as another attempt to lock users into searching as the way to find sites, and eliminate the typing of URLs altogether.
Gertner and Hilwa both noted there are also disadvantages to removing the address bar. One such downside is leaving users without an easy way to recognize phishing attempts. Without an address bar, identity theft attacks that rely on directing victims to fake sites are harder to detect.
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Being passionate about software, Armin joined FavBrowser.com in early 2011 and has been actively writing ever since. Having accepted the challenge, he also enjoys watching anime, indulging in good books, staying fit and healthy, and trying new things.