I have to admit when I stumbled upon this recent addition to the Chromium repository, I probably got more excited than one should for such a simple feature. For those of you that may be a bit confused about the title, let me clarify.
Pull out your mobile device and open Chrome. Now, go to whatever website tickles your fancy. I recommend Chrome Unboxed but hey, I’m a bit biased. Okay, refresh whatever page you have opened.
Most likely the majority of you just swiped down with your thumb or index finger to refresh the page. It’s quick, simple and we do it countless times without even thinking about it.
We have found ourselves with a number of convertibles and even a touchscreen Chromebase scattered around the office. Times when I happen to have my device in tablet mode, I find myself trying to do this very action. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on Chrome for desktop.
That soon may change.
Earlier today, a new commit was added to the Chromium code review regarding this exact feature.
Add –pull-to-refresh flag for pull-to-refresh
You may be thinking “why would you need this on Chrome for desktop?”
Well, I’ll tell you why. The very reason I mentioned above. There have been near a dozen new Chrome devices released in 2017. Of all of them, only one doesn’t offer a touchscreen and it’s a Chromebox. More and more devices are offering a convertible form-factor or at least a touch display and a swipe to refresh feature is sort of a no brainer.
Did I mention this won’t be just for Chromebooks?
In the commit I found a link to a Chromium bug report regarding this upcoming function. Under the operating systems listed was not only Chrome but Windows as well. Window 2-n-1 devices are becoming exceedingly popular as well and this “pull-to-refresh” function will benefit Chromebook and Windows users alike.
What about iOS?
Good question and one that took me a minute to wrap my head around. Then it hit me. Apple doesn’t make touchscreen computers and likely never will according to a CNET interview with Apple software engineering lead Craig Federighi.
It’s because Apple decided a touchscreen on a Mac wasn’t “particularly useful,” says Ive. And on the MacBook Pro, which keeps getting thinner and lighter, it could be “a burden.
Makes sense. No reason to waste time coding this feature into Chrome for MacOS if it will never even be used.
The new pull-to-refresh feature has yet to find its way to the Chrome OS channels. However, with the continuing push of convertible devices and the Play Store slowly making its way to more devices I doubt it will be long before this one becomes reality.
*Note: If you have a Chrome device with access to the Play Store the pull-to-refresh feature will work on the Android version of Chrome.