If you are using the new Firefox web browser for Android -- there is good reason not to use it at this point in time -- then you may have noticed that it displays a trimmed URL of the site in the address bar. The browser hides the protocol that is used and the www. subdomain if it is used as well. It appears that other subdomains, including m. are displayed all the time in the browser's address bar.
The protocol is not shown but the lock icon that is displayed indicates the status of the connection. If a closed lock is shown, it indicates a HTTPS connection.
Firefox users can tap on the lock icon to see it in full and get more details about the connection status. Most Chromium browsers for Android follow Google's lead and hide the information as well from the address bar.
The removal of www. from the address is problematic as it is not always a given that the same content is offered when users access www.example.com and example.com. While that is the case for the majority of sites out there, others may serve different content or no content at all.
If you look at the design decision as objectively as possible, you will notice that the removal of www. saves four characters in the address bar that can be used to display other parts of the address or browser interface elements). The removal hides vital information from the user because www. and non-www may not open the same site. While saving four characters may be useful on mobile, it is not for users who run Firefox on Android tablets.
While many Internet users may not be interested in URLs or protocols at all, it is power users who oppose the design trend to make browser's more accessible by removing information or options.
Bugs were filed on GitHub to restore the full URL in the mobile browser's address bar, but they have been closed in the meantime and it appears that Mozilla has no intention of making changes to the address bar.
Beta and Nightly users of Firefox for Android have access to about:config, but the preference browser.urlbar.trimURLs does not seem to work in the mobile browser. Even if it would work, it would not help the majority of Firefox users on Android as about:config is not enabled in the Stable version of the browser.
It is very likely that Firefox for Android won't restore www. in the address bar and keep on hiding it just like Chrome; Mozilla does not want to restore the full address or even add an option to the Firefox browser to enable the full display of addresses.
Would it be that difficult to give Firefox users a choice in this regard? The design decision is not the only decision in recent time that removed options from the browser, e.g. the deliberate decision to disable about:config in the Stable version and not include an option for advanced users to enable it, is another one. Considering that even Google Chrome Stable provides access to chrome://flags, it is puzzling that Firefox does not give users more options when it comes to this.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.