Google has long been a fan of minimalistic designs that get right to the point. The Google search engine was nearly revolutionary for this tendency, competing with a world of engines that functioned like spam pages, filled to brimming with links and ads. Google followed the same tendency with the Chrome browser, drawing in a total of 120 million users. The look and feel of Chrome is simple: you have tabs, simple navigation buttons, the omnibox URL bar, bookmarks (if you want them) – and that’s it. It seemed for a moment that things were going to go even more minimalistic, though, when a Google engineer posted some mockups that showed several ways the company was considering eliminating the actual URL bar.
Needless to say, the community was in an uproar, lighting their torches and sharpening their pitchforks. The idea of a browser that didn’t have a URL bar, instead using the tab itself as the URL input section, was nearly sacriligeous! But Google has reassured users that the omnibox isn’t going to go anywhere; the mockups that were shown aren’t in development, let alone ready for implementation in the near future, and were intended to show developers some interesting new possibilities.
What that means is that we might see an option to go to a “tab-click-for-URL” input method, but that it will probably be through an extension designed by some group outside of Google, and it won’t be a “mandatory” part of Chrome 10, 11, or any other near-future Google browser. Google will be keeping the same design concept, and these suggestions for ways to use the open-source Chromium code are just that: suggestions.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Chrome isn’t going to go for more minimalistic trends anyway. After all, Chrome 10 looks to be eliminating the settings panel, instead integrating it into the “new tab” window (i.e., the place you can now access recently closed tabs, the Chrome Web Store, and any installed web applications). Further, the fact that IE9 has bragged about having a smaller frame for its tabs may well prompt Google to trim a little bit aound the edges.
[via Google Watch]