I have a love/hate relationship with mice in general. I love the precision, but I hate the lack of gestures. I love the ergonomics on a good mouse but I hate that my wrist inevitably hurts after hours of use. I love having the option of navigating with an unattached device, but I hate that it isn’t an integrated part of my Chromebook when I’m on the go.
For everything I enjoy about using a mouse over my included touchpad, there’s always a trade-off. There are two gestures in general that are the most painful to lose when I switch to the mouse, and they are overview-mode and tab switching.
Overview mode is just a keyboard press away, so it isn’t the worst thing to lose in my pointer control. The 3-finger swipe for tab switching, however, is a go-to action for me on a daily basis. Who am I kidding? It’s an every-few-minutes gesture for me and when I’m using the mouse, there’s a subtle aggravation that I can’t just flick my fingers and move about my tabs.
That simple feature is one that my non-Chromebook friends and family have commented on most when they see me do it. For multitasking, there are few things that are as effortless and useful as swiping three fingers between my open tabs. I love it.
According to a nice find by Dinsan Francis over at Chrome Story, it seems a fix for this conundrum is in the works and has actually been around on Linux for a bit of time. The commit pushing this addition simply says:
Activate the next/previous tab on horizonal scroll
This CL allows us to use mouse with horizontal scroll function, such as tilting wheel or separate wheel for h-scroll.
While Firefox users have had this feature for a long time, it is simply something that’s never been added to most versions of Chrome. With this small addition, I’ll have my beloved tab-switching back and won’t feel quite as hampered when using a mouse over the touchpad. The only real caveat is that you need to click on a tab before you can begin the side-scrolling action, but that’s not a huge deal.
As this commit was added just a few days ago, it could be just a bit before we see this ship in Chrome, but it seems like something they could get out the door by the next update. We’ll be keeping an eye on it!