Google to kill off address bar in Chrome?

Google is considering removing the URL address bar from future versions of its Chrome browser.

The developers are considering four design variants for the Windows version of the browser, the most controversial of which omits the address bar completely.

The Compact Navigation scheme would force users to enter or edit URLs using the small space normally afforded to page titles in the tabs themselves, or to rely on a small search box to find websites.

Google Chrome Compact Navigation option

Removing the address bar would allow Chrome to put the navigation buttons (back/forward), the tabs, and the menu button on a single row, affording more vertical space to website content. Google says it would give users of large screens the flexibility to choose between Compact and Classic navigation, which leaves the address bar intact.

Other alternatives under consideration include moving the entire navigation to the left-hand side of the browser window, where tabs would be stacked vertically.

Google Chrome Sidebar Navigation option

“By moving the tab-strip to the side, we gain a huge amount of real estate for tabs,” the developers note. “The vertical alignment also allows for date ordering and grouping of tabs. By moving the address bar out of the tab and above the strip, it can be used both for navigation as well as search.”

However, Google admits the Sidetab Navigation scheme wastes a lot of space for users with few tabs open.

Google is also working on a touchscreen variant of the browser, which includes much larger tabs and toolbar buttons, to make Chrome more finger friendly.

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