On balance, I’m pleased that this ‘experiment’ is being put to rest. Although I’m for simplifying needlessly-complex aspects of the web, my previous work on web literacy would suggest that there’s a certain amount of knowledge and understanding people need to be able to have to read, write, and participate on the web effectively.
At the time, Google said that the reason for running the experiment was that showing full URLs makes it harder for non-technical users to distinguish between legitimate and malicious (phishing) sites, many of which use complicated and long URLs in attempts to confuse users.
Showing only the domain name was considered a good way to remove the extra chaff from a complex URL and only leave the core domain visible in the URL bar.
If users wanted to view the full link, they could click or hover the Chrome address bar to reveal the rest of the page URL.
However, despite its good intentions, the experiment never sat well, with both security experts and end-users alike, who often complained about it when Google silently enabled it on some browsers to gather usage statistics.