The next version of Google's Chrome could lack a feature that has characterised web browsers for close to two decades: the http:// in the address bar.
The change, which is live in the developer version of the browser, may look minor, but it has created a storm of controversy on the Chrome web site.
Users point out that many web applications require the use of http://, known as the 'scheme', in order to recognise them as URLs that that can automatically be turned into links.
While the offending Chrome version invisibly adds it to the clipboard when a user copies a URL, this has not satisfied some critics, who claim the change will “train” users to ignore the scheme.
“I like my address bar to accurately refer to the URI I'm looking at,” wrote one angry user, who claimed the change breaks from RFC standards. “Copy and paste isn't the issue here. It's deliberate tampering of display of a URI visual function for aesthetics.”
Apple's Safari browser for mobile devices also removes the scheme, for space purposes, but re-appears it when the user clicks on the address bar.
There are currently over 150 comments on the Chrome web site, the large majority negative.