The Chrome OS development team has been on a rampage lately to eliminate all shortcuts utilizing the Alt key on your Chromebook’s keyboard. In its place, they truly are attempting to make the ‘Launcher’ button – now called the ‘Everything button‘ – capable of everything. Not only can it search for files on your local storage and in the cloud, but it can also find your installed apps, and so much more. Now, it’s going to be the end-all-be-all of shortcut buttons.
Last week, Google laid the groundwork to remove the Alt button from the shortcut for forward deleting text. Now, instead of pressing Alt + Backspace, you’ll need to press Search + backspace in order to remove text to the right of your cursor. Today, I encountered a new Chrome flag that seeks to remove the Alt key from the shortcut for right-clicking! Currently, your device can right-click without the right-click button on your mouse if you hold alt and then left-click. However, for those who use a touchpad and prefer to click it instead of two-finger tapping to perform a right-click or for those who have a broken right-click on their external mouse, the ability to right-click by holding down a keyboard key in conjunction with the standard left-click of a mouse or touchpad is a godsend.
The flag chrome://flags/#use-search-click-for-right-click seems to be changing for another purpose entirely though. Instead of simply being Search + click for accessibility means, Google looks to be concerned with how apps and websites have a need for the Alt and the left mouse button simultaneously. I can’t think of a single instance where this would occur in my existing workflow, but the flag description states that this will ‘allow webpages and apps to consume alt+click’. Okay then, cool.
Use Search+Click for right click
When enabled search+click will be remapped to right click, allowing webpages and apps to consume alt+click. When disabled the legacy behavior of remapping alt+click to right click will remain unchanged. – Chrome OS
If you ask me, Google just wants to make the ‘Everything button’ do, well, everything just for marketing and simplicity, and I can’t blame them. I mean, this is further cemented due to the fact that the Alt+click capability is not going away – yet. Keep in mind that pressing the key itself launches a Google Search, so stating that the Chromebook ‘Everything button’ does ‘Everything, including Google Search’ literally translates to ‘Google does everything and it’s one tap away’, which is clever.
Truth be told, I always saw this coming, but I didn’t think they would move so quickly to uproot existing shortcut key combinations. People have utilized these for years, and especially after coming from 20+ years of Windows or macOS where these shortcuts are now second nature. What do you think about these changes and the idea of making the ‘Everything button’ do everything? Sound off in the comments!