Google is constantly experimenting and adding new features to Google Chrome.
The earlier week Google introduced a sleek print preview of webpages in Google Chrome canary build, which is actually very useful when you want to print a webpage or download a PDF version of an article on your computer.
The latest version of Google Chrome’s canary build has introduced the ability to completely hide Chrome’s address bar and use a much compact navigational control
Here is how to enable compact navigation on Google Chrome’s latest canary build (step by step).
1. Make sure you’re running the latest version of Chrome’s canary by clicking the wrench icon and selecting “About Google Chrome”. The option to hide the address bar is also available in dev and chromium builds of Google chrome but not present in the stable channel yet.
2. Type about:flags in Chrome’s address bar and hit Enter. This will take you to Google chrome’s experimental features page where you have to scroll down to find the entry “Compact navigation”. The following screenshot should make the point more clear:
3. Click Enable and that’s it. Now restart Chrome for the changes to take effect.
4. After restarting Google Chrome, right click on any open tab and you should see an option to hide toolbars, as shown below:
5. Once you have selected “hide the toolbars” option in Chrome’s context menu, you should see a more compact view of Google chrome, with the address bar completely hidden.
The only visible buttons would be “Back”, “Forward” and “Settings”, as shown in the following screenshot
Chrome already provides an easy way to toggle hiding the bookmarks toolbar but the ability to hide address bar in Google chrome was not present earlier. With this new setting, the browser removes the slightest possible UI elements present and wants the user to focus only on the webpage he is reading. Extra UI elements, settings, bookmarks and other not so important stuff are better kept hidden and out of sight.
Here are some more address bar tricks for Google Chrome:
- Launch bookmarks and bookmarklets from Google Chrome address bar
- Replace Google Chrome’s Address Bar Search From Country Specific To Google.com
So how do you open a webpage when the address bar is hidden in the first place? Simply open a new tab page and you will see the URL bar popping up.
The address bar is shown only when you open a new tab page but that doesn’t mean you can never copy the web address or bookmark the page you’re currently reading. The keyboard shortcut for toggling chrome’s address bar is Control + L; which works pretty fine indeed.
Please note that the address bar will auto hide the moment you hover the cursor out of the visible area. It’s often not a very bad idea to hide useless UI elements of a software program, get rid of browser toolbars and use a minimalist setting for the browser you are using. But if your mom or non tech savvy friend is using Google Chrome for the first time, it might be a good idea to leave the address bar as it is.
Another concern is that novice users might get exposed to malicious links or websites that are shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. If your browser auto hides the address of a webpage, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to stay away from bad links, phishing sites or links that are nothing but spam.
You can disable the auto hide feature of Chrome’s address by going to the about:flags page, hitting “Disable” under compact controls and then restarting Google chrome.