Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

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?

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TOPICS: Browser, Google
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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

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10 comments
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  • RE: Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

    The google chrome is better this way....any changes will made will not be as good as the new beta version......
    karttikeyabihani
  • RE: Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

    I like the omnibar. In all honesty, I know the omnibar is kinda simple, but it's one of the main reasons I switched from Firefox to Chrome. Instead of losing it in favor of tablet/netbook hardware, how about making a mobile version or a mouse gesture/keyboard shortcut to hide it.
    barneytheblueheeler@...
  • RE: Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

    Well i think this could be an interesting move for Google. Especially the omni-bar hiding back into the tab(as the top right picture suggests). Lets not forget that if Google had carried on with the philosophy of not fixing whats not broken we would still be stuck with separate address bar and search bar and tabs below them.

    At least i could do with some more vertical space, what with the stupid 16:9 screens coming with laptops these days...
    hammad.ullah
  • RE: Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

    The Omnibar is what won me over to Chrome to begin with. I'd think twice before messing with it.
    mulder@...
  • They stripped the "Go" button, but "Stop" is the same as "Refresh"...

    ...so if a page is loading the button is "Stop", if it's loaded it's "Refresh". Which actually makes a lot of sense and saves space!<br><br>As for stripping the Omnibar, please please please don't! It's one of the many major reasons I use Chrome!
    DevJonny
  • RE: Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

    This article has a terribly misleading title, and equally misleading content.

    This isn't so much about "losing" the omnibar as it is moving its location, changing how you access it, etc...

    The omnibar will stay, but the way in which we find it or interact with it might change.

    I'm open for change, but it takes using a feature or dealing with a change for a while before determining whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Some people simply don't like change. Those people, eventually, are likely to give up on technology altogether, because this era of technology is all about rapid change.

    If past changes are any indication, this would likely be released to the Canary build first, possibly under an option. Maybe under about:flags.

    Then, if usability proves it is working, they might make it the default for Canary builds, then expand the feature to beta builds, possibly hidden behind a flag. It will likely follow this path until it reaches the production build.

    If enough people complain, it might be an option in the regular settings page to use the old method. Eventually, more and more people will just use the new defaults, and life will go on.
    BIGELLOW
  • RE: Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

    Weren't the original posts on Google's email lists and developer wikis actually about Chrome OS, not the Chrome browser?
    aep528
  • Just lose Chrome all together

    and get something better from Apple.
    Ron Burgundey
  • RE: Google Chrome may lose the 'omnibar' in future releases

    Please. Here we go again. Chrome is the most Mac like interface. Apple has completely gone astray from it's roots of simplicity. Look at OSX!
    rayi23
  • Prefer separate search bar

    It's one reason I don't use chrome/iron all that much. I found an extension that adds a BUTTON you have to click that has the ability to save your search so you can use it on other search engines, but I'd really prefer that to be visible ALL the time, with maybe an arrow dropdown to show other search engines. I have my default search set to Duckduckgo, because if you want to search on other engines, there's a dropdown, as soon as you reach the page, to search on other engines...something I'd much rather just be able to do in the browser interface, without searching for a tiny icon to click just to search first! (I refuse to use the URL bar for a search, the URL is to type in a specific address you want to go to, not a search engine's page. That set-up is just WRONG.)
    I realize Chrome (or iron) isn't Firefox 3.6 (I refuse to use 4+ as it's too much like Chrome, for one thing it has that "awesome" bar, which isn't) but they could take some cues from what people really want and allow the OPTION to do things your way, at least. (In this case, having a separate search box whether it be on a second row or to the right of the "Omnibox")
    janitorman