Currently, when a local file is opened in Google Chrome, the browser's address bar displays a file:// address that contains the path to the local file that is opened. In Chrome 70, Google has introduced a new "File" notification, as shown below, that is also used to indicate that a local file is open in the browser.

File notification in Chrome 70
File notification in Chrome 70

According to a Chrome Gerrit entry titled "Elide file scheme in omnibox", now that Chrome displays a File chip notification next to the address, there is no need to continue using the file:// URI scheme (Uniform Resource Identifier scheme) in the Chrome omnibox.

Gerrit Entry

The Gerrit entry also includes a link to an image of what the Chrome address bar will look like without the file:// URI scheme. I used that mockup to show you the progression between Chrome 69, the currently Nightly build of Chrome 70, and how Google ultimately wants to display the addresses for local files in Chrome.

In the current Chrome 69 (69.0.3497.100 ) version, when user opens a file on their computer using Chrome, it will display an URL in the address bar that starts with file:// and then the path of the file is appended as shown below.

Chrome 69 Local File Indicator
Chrome 69 Local File Indicator

In the current Canary build of Chrome 70 (71.0.3555.0), a new File chip notification has been added to the omnibox as shown below. Note that the address bar still contains a file:// URI scheme in this version of Chrome.

Chrome 70 Local File Indicator
Chrome 70 Local File Indicator

Based on the Gerrit post, ultimately the Chrome omnibox will no longer show the file:// URI scheme and only show the "File" chip. This could look look similar to the following mockup that we created below.

Mockup of how future versions of Chrome may show local files

If a users clicks on the File notification, according to this bug report, Chrome will display a message that tells the user "You're viewing a local or shared file".

Future Notification Description

While code posted to the Chrome Gerrit does not always make it into release, there is a good chance that this change will happen. This is because Google is making a concerted effort to remove what they feel is duplicate or unnecessary information from Chrome's address bar/omnibox.

For example, Google has already removed the https:// and http:// URI schemes and are instead displaying either a "Not Secure" notification for http sites and a lock for secure sites. We have also recently seen Google elide the WWW and M subdomains, but ultimately decide after a large outcry to allow the M subdomain to stay.

Bleeping Computer has contacted Google for comment regarding this change and other possible future changes, but had not heard back at the time of this publication.

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