The Chrome OS development team has been working on the latest to eliminate all shortcuts by using the Alt key on the Chromebook keyboard. Instead, they are really trying 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 the end of all the shortcut buttons.
Last week, Google laid the groundwork for removing the Alt button from the shortcut to delete text going forward. Now, instead of pressing Alt + Backspace, press Search + backspace to remove text to the right of the cursor. Today I encountered a new Chrome flag that seeks to remove the Alt key from the shortcut to right-click! At the moment, the device can right-click without right-clicking the mouse if you hold everything and then left-click. For those who use a touchpad and prefer to click on it instead of pressing with two fingers to perform a right-click, or for those who have a broken right-click on the external mouse, the option to right-click is by holding down a keyboard key in conjunction with the standard left-click on a mouse or touchpad is a gift.
The flag chrome: // flag / #use-search-click-for-right-click seems to be changing for a different purpose altogether though. Instead of just being Search + Click for accessibility resources, Google seems to be concerned with how apps and websites need the Alt and Left mouse buttons at the same time. I can not think of a single instance where this would occur in my existing workflow, but the flag description says that this will “allow websites and apps to consume everything + clicks”. OK then, cool.
Use Search + Click to right-click
When enabled, search + clicks will be converted to right-click so that web pages and apps can consume everything + clicks. When disabled, the older behavior remains to reformulate alt + click to right-click unchanged. – Chrome OS
If you ask me, Google will just get the “Alt” button done, well, all just for marketing and simplicity, and I can not blame them. I mean, this is further cemented due to the fact that the Alt + click ability does not disappear – yet. Remember that pressing the key itself starts a Google search, so that the Chromebook ‘Alt button’ does ‘Everything, including Google Search’, literally translates to ‘Google does everything and there is one press away’, which is smart.
Truth be told, I’ve always seen this coming, but I did not think they would move that fast to remove existing keyboard shortcuts. People have been using these for years, and especially after coming from over 20 years with Windows or macOS where these shortcuts are now second nature. What do you think about these changes and the idea of making the “Alt” button do everything? Hear in the comments!