Google wants to end URLs as we know them. The reason is the growing insecurity generated by the increasingly long and confusing addresses. For example, shortened links or redirect data are some that confuse users and facilitate the proliferation of fake websites, phishing and other scams by cybercriminals.
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The problem was explained by members of the Chrome security team to the Wired website. The change in the functioning of the addresses has no date and, for the time being, the group is studying the best solutions to start the implementation proposal.
Google studies ways to end URLs to combat scams Photo: Melissa Cruz / TechTudo
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To understand the motivations behind the team, it is important to know how the URLs work. The acronym comes from the English Uniform Resource Locator ("Uniform Resource Locator" in Portuguese). They consist of related links in the web's DNS address catalog, which direct browsers to the correct IP addresses. through this resource you can type "www.techtudo.com.br" to enter our website, without having to memorize a sequence of numbers and points.
The question that we are no longer in the 90s. E-commerce inserts targeting data in all links, as a way to identify your most successful marketing strategies. The tactic is made by a number of companies, making links an incomprehensible combination of letters, numbers and special characters.
Google argues that the length of current URLs leaves users confused Photo: Gabrielle Lancellotti / TechTudo
Link shorteners mask the address and, in addition, smartphone screens are too small to display the entire URL of a website. The consequence of these factors is that the user is often unable to identify which page he is on. And this confusion is exploited in several forms of attack, reducing the level of security on the Internet as a whole.
"People have a hard time understanding URLs. They are complicated to read, it is difficult to know which part of them should be reliable and, in general, I don't think they work as a good way to convey the identity of a website", says the manager Chrome engineer, Adrienne Porter Felt in Wired interview.
Google doesn?t know yet. Adrienne Felt, together with Chrome's chief engineer, Justin Schuh, admitted that the team is divided into what is the best solution to be proposed. The group knows that the matter is extremely delicate and that, regardless of the change, the initiative will generate resistance.
It is precisely for this reason that the interviewees refused to give practical examples at the moment. Adrienne Felt stated that the team should be better prepared to speak publicly "in the spring", which starts in March in the United States.
Chrome engineering director Parisa Tabriz endorses the position: "I don't know what that will be like, because an active discussion on the team now. But I know that everything we propose to be controversial. That is one of the challenges of a really old platform. , open and constantly expanding. But it is important that we do something, because everyone is dissatisfied with the URLs ".
Google has yet to disclose which alternative to address bar Photo: Melissa Cruz / TechTudo
The focus at this stage is to identify all the ways in which people use URLs. That observation would be the key to finding an alternative that improves the security and integrity of identity on the web, while maintaining the convenience of performing daily tasks, how to share links to and from mobile phones.
Concern about URLs not new to Google
It is not the first time that Google launches an initiative in this sense. The company has already tested a formatting feature in Chrome called "source chip", which displayed only the main domain name of the sites, without the additions to the internal pages. The proposal, launched in 2014, was to improve the identification of portals, ensuring that the internet user knew in which domain he was browsing.
The solution allowed to view the complete URL by clicking on the chip. But the experience was troubled and, amid criticism and praise, the feature was abandoned after a few weeks of pre-launching the browser.
"The source chip was Chrome's first incursion in the area. We found out a lot about how people think and use URLs. (But) frankly, the size of the problem proved to be more difficult than we expected. We are using the feedback we received in 2014 to prepare our new work ", said Felt.
Sudden changes are polymeric
When explaining the project, still in preliminary form, the Google team made a point of highlighting that the updating of the URLs would not be done randomly. The idea is to improve a vision that is already in effect, since the current addresses carry the concern with the identification of the site.
In addition, Parisa Tabriz recalled the criticism for Chrome's initiative to apply HTTPS web encryption by default, treating unencrypted sites as insecure. "Something as basic as HTTPS, everyone in the security community agrees that it is good. But you make a change and people freak out," he says.
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