A new Chrome developer flag discovered by Leopeva64-2 on Reddit was recently added into the Canary channel of the browser that displays additional site information when the padlock icon is clicked. For those unfamiliar, the padlock icon is a lock that appears at the top of the browser wrapper to the left of the Omnibox or search box.
‘About this site’ section in page info
Enable the ‘About this site’ section in the page info. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android#page-info-about-this-site
This ‘About this site’ section is already a part of the Microsoft Edge browser, so we have a pretty good idea of what it will look like when it rolls out to Chrome. So far, the flag above isn’t doing anything in Google’s browser, but if you want to check out how it may appear, just see the image below, provided by the Redditor.
You’ll notice that even now, the feature in Edge looks incomplete. Icons are missing, so it’s clearly still in development. Still, calling up this new segment will display advanced site information like its founder or founders, the date it was established, what programming languages it’s written it, what languages it’s available in where its headquarters are based, its subsidiaries if it has any, and so on. The broken icon images are links to Wikipedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any other relevant social media that specific site can be found on.
If you’ve paid attention to the right side of a Google search result page over the past handful of years, you may have realized that this type of data also appears there. Known as the ‘Knowledge Graph’, Google pulls relevant information from specific, trusted sites and displays it in an easy-to-digest, clean, and straightforward way in a panel alongside the query results.
Google Search is no longer a dump of blue links – it’s a place to find answers to questions you ask as a human. The ‘search giant’ is now known as an AI and Machine learning first company, and this shows with these sorts of advancements in the way it presents the user experience. It’s done a lot of work to make computers relate to people more closely, and it’s no surprise to see it trying to humanize every aspect of the browser and its other products or services.
Going forward, the padlock icon will become a chevron icon instead as we’ve seen on Canary over the past few weeks on our own devices. The historically green lock image turned grey a few years back when Google attempted to change the user mindset of security. The green was no longer necessary since Chrome served sites up via HTTPS by default, and displayed HTTP sites as insecure and even blocked visits to them in many cases.
The next challenge will be to get users to click this new chevron if they want to explore the website’s social presence or gain further insights. The real question is – ‘will we reach a day when we no longer place social info or contact pages on our sites because it’s baked directly into all browsers upon visiting? ‘I don’t think so, but it is an interesting thought.