Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

Summary:In future releases of Chrome, Google could strip out the 'omnibar', which acts as both the address and search bar. Is Google going too far, or should they just keep a good thing going?

Chrome is without doubt the 'no frills' browser, with the most simplistic user interface of any desktop web browser on the market. Yet Google may be stripping out even more in future releases in its bravest move to date: the omnibar.

The omnibar may be to many just simply a combined address and search bar, but it is the very heart of the browser. According to one report, Chrome developers have been told by a senior figure at Google that the user interface may change drastically in future releases.

In mid-2010, the 'stop' and 'go' buttons were ripped out of Chrome as seemingly unimportant buttons, taking up real estate on an already stripped down interface to make more web content visible on screen.

But if the omnibar goes, where does that leave users?

Though in the process of making Chrome more accessible to more users, including those using touch-screens and tablets, some of the concepts seen make the browser 'cleaner' and less cluttered.

The omnibar could dip into the tab itself, as seen in the top-right hand corner of the above image, and become integrated there to save space, hidden unless loading or refreshing the page

It would be a bold move, but long-standing existing users may not like the change. Combined with the automatic updating of the browser behind the scenes as a background process, it might annoy users to suddenly discover a new interface without as much as a warning.

Killing off the obvious presence of the omnibar could alienate users. Arguably, is there much more Google can do to strip down Chrome? Should the company quit while they are ahead and stick with what works best for the vast majority.

If it ain't broken, don't fix it. What do you think?

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Topics: Browser, Google

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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