Will Website SSL Security Be Hurt By Hidden Browser URL Address Bars?

Mozilla is testing a version of Firefox browser that hides the bar used to show the URL of websites you visit. Mozilla’s tests are just that – experimental tests – and it’s unclear if the no URL bar browser will become the default option.

Google is also testing a no-URL address bar version of Chrome. Google calls it, “Chrome Canary”, which is currently aimed at developers. Canary has an option called “Compact Navigation” to hide URL entry and display bar. The Canary feature looks like it only works in the Windows version of Canary, and it’s not currently supported on Mac OSX.

The advantages of no URL address display is that Netbook and tablet get more screen space to display content from the media rich websites they visit.

However, the downside is around safety and security. Web surfers who want to always know where they are may have security concerns. Plus, it will be harder to detect if a website is secured with an extended validation SSL certificate as the green URL address bar and HTTPS in the URL will not be shown. This is a real concern around these tests – SSL certificates may not be as effective as sites may choose not to use SSL certs because it won’t be as obvious to web surfers that their site is covered by SSL encryption. It will be interesting to see what certificate authorities like Verisign (Verisign EV SSL review) and GoDaddy (GoDaddy EV SSL review) say about this browser testing in the future.

An additional concern has been voiced by domain investors, who are scared domain names will be worth less with no URL address bars in web browsers. Type-in traffic, or traffic to websites that happens directly in the URL address bars will obviously go down if it’s more difficult or not possible to access a URL address bar. Domain investors now monetize that free type-in traffic.

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Will Website SSL Security Be Hurt By Hidden Browser URL Address Bars?

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