Over the years, Chrome has become a very helpful browser, but that means it has also become quite a bit more complex. From new features to updates in the underlying way the browser operates, Chrome has become far more capable than it used to be. While that is generally a good thing, it is also a hurdle for many users just trying to learn the ropes and get things done efficiently.
In Chrome 90, currently in the Developer Channel, a new feature flag has shown up that enables a new feature that, when leveraged, can greatly assist users in quickly performing Chrome-based tasks without having to know the exact shortcut or key combination to pull it off. At first, when I was made aware of this new feature via TechDows, I wan’t totally sure what I was looking at.
After playing around with it for a bit, however, I really want to see this land in Chrome OS, too! Basically, once you have the flag enabled (chrome://flags/#commander), all you need to do is press CTRL + Spacebar and you’ll get a nifty search box that has everything from bookmarks to Chrome commands to keyboard shortcuts all in one searchable place. Want to open a bookmark? Call up the commander and search it. Want to open a recently closed tab? Bring up the commander, start typing ‘tab’ and you’ll see the shortcut you can click or the keyboard shortcut to do it manually. It’s pretty brilliant, honestly.
As of right now, we only are seeing this flag appear on Chrome and not in Chrome OS. That could definitely change and I don’t see any good reason this would not eventually be included for Chrome OS, but if you are expecting to try this out on your Chromebook right now, there’s no way to enable it unfortunately.
Either way, this new feature could really change the way many of us interact with the Chrome browser. There are tons of ways to do tons of things in Chrome and having a central interaction point could go a long way toward making complex functionalities a bit more straightforward for end users. I think of it a bit like the built-in search box for Chromebooks becoming the centralized jump-off point for starting a task. I used to never use that feature, but now it is the primary way I open files and jump to my settings. The Commander could serve as a similar UI element for Chrome on Windows, Linux and MacOS, and if it is presented the right way, I think many users could benefit from its impending arrival.