Google is experimenting with making Chrome's address bar even more useful

Google Chrome
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Google has a new experiment going on with Chrome omnibox – or the address bar, as it's more commonly known. The trial relates to the autocomplete function that saves you from having to type out the full URL of a site you have already visited, and it looks like a pretty major upgrade is on the way.

Currently, if you want to revisit (although, of course, you should have it bookmarked!) you can start to type the first few letters and Chrome will suggest the rest. But the upcoming change will enable autocomplete for the titles of pages.

The new feature goes by the name Omnibox Autocomplete Titles, and Google says that it "allows autocompleting bookmark, history, and document suggestions when the user input is a prefix of their titles, as opposed to their URLs". But what does this mean in practice?

With the new feature enabled, Chrome will also autocomplete URLs if you type something other than the first few letters. This means that to visit my TechRadar profile page, you could start to type 'wyci' and Chrome will autocomplete it to This is extremely handy if you've visited a page, but can only remember part of the address, not necessarily which site it was on.

History revisited

In addition to this, the new feature allows for autocompletion based on a page's title, not just its URL. Google uses the example of a Wikipedia page about space shuttles. If you've previously visited, autocomplete currently only works if you start types ''. But with the Omnibox Autocomplete Titles feature you could also type 'wiki/space_shu' or 'space shut' to benefit from autocompletion.

To try out the updated omnibox, it does not matter which edition of Chrome you are using – you can try it in the stable release, the beta version, or the Canary build for developers. Use the following steps:

  1. Launch Chrome and visit chrome://flags
  2. Search for 'Omnibox Autocomplete Titles'
  3. Select 'Enabled' from the drop-down menu for this setting
  4. Restart Chrome

If you are running the Canary build of Chrome, there are some extra related flags that you can enable as well: Omnibox Rich Autocompletion, Omnibox Rich Autocompletion Min characters, and Omnibox Rich Autocompletion Show Additional Text.

The feature works in Windows, macOS, Linux and Chrome OS (which powers your Chromebook), but it's not clear if Google will bring the same feature to mobile users as well.  

Check out our full guide to the best browsers.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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