If you’ve not used a convertible Chromebook, you may not be too familiar with Chrome OS’ virtual keyboard. At one point, we all thought it was going to be replaced by Gboard, but it seems Google is sticking with the Chrome OS virtual keyboard and is continuing to add features to the built-in input method.
This latest addition is a great benefit to the floating version of the virtual keyboard that will allow users to resize it in the event that it feels a tad too large or small on the screen. For reference, when you have the virtual keyboard pulled up on a convertible, detachable or tablet Chromebook, you can hit a single button on the top of the keyboard to shrink it down to a one-handed version. This smaller incarnation can be dragged to wherever the user would like on the screen, but for some, the floating keyboard may be a bit smaller or larger than they would like.
A new flag that is available in Chrome OS 82 (currently in Canary) allows for resizing on the floating keyboard, so users will be able to change the feel based on their preferences. I like the floating keyboard for utilizing swipe input with one hand, so I don’t like the idea of making the it any larger. I could actually imagine using this new feature to shrink down the keyboard for even faster one-handed input.
I could also imagine other users deciding to stretch the smaller keyboard for a more tablet-like keyboard experience without it taking up the entire bottom portion of the screen like it does when docked. Regardless of where you land on keyboard size, the addition of a customization option is always welcome. We enabled the new flag and as you can see in the image below, there is a clear blue outline on each corner of the keyboard and that is the area you can use to resize things to your liking.
As with other features like this, we’d expect to see it land alongside the version of Chrome it is currently being tested on, but there’s still a chance it could move down the ladder a bit and show up with Chrome OS 80 or 81 with an update. We’ll keep an eye on the feature and let you know when it becomes fully available in the stable version of Chrome OS.