I hate how mobile safari has removed URLs, I find it very disorienting. I'm constantly looking at the URL bar to see if I've navigated to a new page or not, to see what the page I'm on is named and its purpose is, and to make sure I went where I clicked and wasn't just redirected somewhere else (sometimes this can be really confusing, for example mobile versions of webpages that dump you out to the main page instead of the mobile version of the page you were hoping for).
While I can see the anti-phishing advantages of emphasizing the domain, hopefully this wouldn't come at the expense of the rest of the URL. Right now chrome grays out the rest of the URL, which is nice, but if you want to be less subtle that's fine too - turn the domain into a button, or draw a box around it or whatever, but please leave the rest of the URL passively visible.
I think a lot of the negative reaction also comes from replacing it with a google search box. Not very classy. There used to be just the URL bar in browsers, then there was the URL bar and the search bar, then chrome simplified it into just the URL bar, which allowed you to search if you prefixed with ?, and now you can search with no prefix. The new change would just make the whole thing a search field. If you want to optimize chrome for people who don't know how to use the internet and won't learn that's google's choice, but don't expect me to use it or recommend it.
I don't even think it would help there. In fact, I think this would help fraudsters. If I think about the various scam attempts on steam for example.
They direct you to a url like www.stempowered.com/q?phishlogin=true or something.
Knowing that a correct steam url would never have this sort of thing in its url would be the first thing to notice if you were already duped into clicking on a link that lead to the above url.
If the browser then only displays "stempowered.com", it would be way more difficult to notice you are on a phishing site. Just because you didn't notice the missing "a". And let's face it. The average consumer/user does not go and verify any certificates.
This is incorrect. Entering a URL into the field produces the exact same behavior as it does with this option disabled. Typing a URL and pressing enter goes directly to that URL. Typing part of a URL that has been previously visited (like "face" => "http://www.facebook.com/") will default to visiting that URL.
However, if I enter "face" into the text field on google.com, then facebook.com is the top result. If I enter a complete URL like "https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7677898" or even "news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7677898", it turns it into a link to that page. The only difference between the search field on google.com and the URL field in chrome is whether it knows about my internet history, and maybe that's just because I have web history turned off. Sometimes I get the "Google Search" behavior and sometimes I get the "I'm feeling lucky" behavior.
In cases where the google search gives the wrong response, chrome gives the same wrong response, for example on intranet servers.
So, if it doesn't display the URL, and it behaves exactly like the search field on google.com, and it doesn't correctly navigate to some URLs entered into the field, I don't think you can really consider it a URL field any more.
In other words, it will make the whole thing a search field, with some smart url-friendly behaviors, so that most of the time when you enter a url it will take you to that url.
What? Intranet addresses work perfectly fine in the chrome url bar, unless it 1) has spaces (which aren't technically allowed in urls, and you can type %20 to avoid) or 2) is only letters (which you can avoid by just appending a slash or something).
Also, if the omnibox automatically redirected to sites instead, then yes it would pretty much be identical. But it doesn't and it's not.
Getting back to the earlier question, is the omnibox a URL field or a search field? Well, it's a combination of the two. But it's sort of like a UX version of the ship of Theseus.. if you slowly remove all the behaviors of a URL field and replace them with those of a search field, at what point does it become something different? When does it become a search field with URL behaviors instead of a URL field with search behaviors?
If you look at the screenshot in the linked article, the field says "Search Google or type URL" instead of showing the URL. I think that's the watershed moment. Given all the behavioral changes already, subjectively I'd say that's not a URL bar any more. Even if the omnibox behavior is exactly the same as now, it's no longer showing the URL.
I hope it doesn't make its way into the release version of chrome.
In other words: what Chrome has already done for a very long time.