URLs have become ubiquitous in our time - nearly every company and individual has some sort of online presence - all with associated URLs. And, while URLs for the biggest names are generally easy to guess (simply add a .com to their name) - that's not always the case, as is such with nissan.com and companies that use .biz or .info top level domain names. Worse yet, a wrong guess can land you on a webpage that you definitely don't want to be on. Google wants to take the guesswork out of URLs.
But they also want to do something else - they want to make URLs safer. With more and more web traffic being handled over mobile devices it's easy for users to not be able to see complete URLs on their screens, especially now that URLs often contain long strings of dynamically-generated unintelligible characters or users travel to sites via shortened URLs like tinyurl. This makes it easier for cyber criminals to get unsuspecting users onto their malicious lookalike sites, where they phish data, download viruses, and ultimately defraud visitors.
So, how do we make URLs easier and safer? Well, "we haven't quite figured that part out yet", says Google. However, they're exploring new avenues to accomplish the task and hope to have results in the coming months. In the meantime, they're analyzing how users utilize URLs, share them, search for them, and so on so that the new solution offers all the usability that current URLs have.
Whatever the solution may be, Google expects it to be radical and controversial.
This article was based on a September 4, 2018 Wired article by Lily Hay Newman