Google has recently been experimenting with burying the full URL of the page you’re at and showing just the domain. Yesterday Apple unveiled their next installment of the OS X operating system in which we can see the new Safari interface doing just the same: truncating the full URL to just the domain name. This behavior is consistent with what Safari currently does on iOS powered devices. In another change, the title bar is now completely gone, its place taken by the simplified address bar.
So that’s at least one major browser deciding to go the route of hiding the full URL. I’m not sure whether I like this change or not, but I do like the idea of dropping the title of the page. Since page tabs already show the title of each page (albeit truncated), it doesn’t make sense to duplicate it again just a few pixels above them. Dropping that title bar removes a whole line of interface chrome, making the thing feel cleaner and more compact. This is what other browsers have done long ago, and it’s nice seeing Safari follow suit. Obviously the title still remains very important in the tabs – you cannot use the domain for the tab label because that won’t let you differentiate between different pages on the same site – but it doesn’t make sense to dedicate much chrome to it when its main purpose is quick identification rather than description. The purpose of description is handy in a different context, e.g. managing bookmarks. There, you’d want to see the titles in full.