Software developers working on Google’s popular Chrome browser are testing "radical" changes to its appearance.
Sources close to the company said that the address bar currently takes up a significant amount of space that could be used for web browsing.
One plan being considered would mean it was only visible when users hovered their mouse pointer over a specific part of the screen.
The new “compact” navigation mode, described on the Chromium website as one of two key focuses for development, would take the web address bar out of each tab, releasing more screen space to display web pages.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9, which is already available in a nearly final pre-release version, adopts a similar approach already.
Chrome, however, is thought to be planning a significantly more stripped down version, working towards releasing almost the entire screen for web browsing.
Chrome is also increasingly using web apps, such as that produced by Tweetdeck for users to manage their Twitter accounts.
The notes on the website list “current URL is not always visible” as a weakness of the design, but also say that “Apps can provide a better experience with full control of their content area”.
More than 120 million users now use Google Chrome, which has been heavily advertised by Google. The company is also working on a 'Chrome OS' rival to Microsoft Windows.
Google updates Chrome every six weeks, but major upgrades tend to be far less frequent. The company warned that Chrome’s “user interface is under development”, and said that there is no guarantee that design changes will be rolled out on a wide scale.
Telegraph Media Group Limited