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Google to fix annoying Chrome backspace flaw

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Chrome

Google is finally addressing a flaw in its Chrome browser that can see users losing everything they've been working on.

Chrome is the world's most popular web browser, but it also has a couple of irritating flaws. One of those relates to its use of backspace button on your keyboard, which Google also uses as a 'back' shortcut.

If you're inputting a lot of text into a form or working on a web document, this can result in losing a whole bunch of work with a simple button press.

Google is set to start rolling out a new version of Chrome that will disable this back button shortcut. It's already made its way to some development versions of the browser.

"The reason we're making this change is that users regularly lose data because they hit the backspace button thinking that a form field is focused. After years of this issue, we realise we're not going to have a better way to solve that problem," says Google.

Of course, a lot of long-time Chrome users have grown accustomed to the backspace shortcut, and have voiced their displeasure at the feature's imminent removal.

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This perhaps explains why Google is cautiously applying the 'fix' for now, as it means it can restore the original functionality "should there be sufficient outcry."

Google has also assured frustrated power users that it is working on an extension to enable them to reinstate the backspace function manually.

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What do you think of Google's tweak? Meddlesome or welcome? Let us know in the comments.

Nick G

May 20, 2016, 10:36 am

Great idea... The number of times I've had to fill out a form again after accidentally pressing backspace is silly. I've even got extensions installed (Lazarus) which try and remember the contents of forms in case this happens. I hope though - they provide an alternative keyboard shortcut for "back" such as Ctrl-Backspace or something.

Loman

May 23, 2016, 12:14 pm

I hope that this fix is optional. Having used chrome extensively the backspace shortcut is awesome. Never, not even once have this "annoying chrome backspace flaw" occur with me.

Why? Simply because if you type your cursor is already focused on the form field.
The only possible way for this to happen is with laptops where a part of your hand might touch the touchpad and move the cursor. But that's why most laptops have touchpad disable keys these days.

Zachary Davis

August 10, 2016, 6:23 pm

This wasnt a flaw. There is a backspace button and a delete button. Learn to use a keyboard or pay attention to where the focus is. It's not everyone elses problem people like you are either lazy or stupid. Either way this was already addressed by an exstension called lazerus. Why does the world have to pander to stupidity, shouldn't it be the other way around? shouldn't we hold each other to a higher standard instead of a lesser standard? smh

André Noordzij

August 15, 2016, 7:15 am

Wow, Trusted Reviews, you guys don't really use computers extensively or something? This "fix" is just about the biggest nuisance I've seen in browsers in the past 15 years. Navigating back with backspace has been a feature of every main browser for at least those 15 years. I can scarcely imagine any advanced user that doesn't use it.

Let me clarify a few things:
1. Data was never lost using the backspace key. Chrome has always stored the contents of the form in your navigations. If you went back to the previous page, any data you'd have put into a form would be present, the same applied when you navigated forwards.
2. Advanced users used the backspace button to prevent having to move the mouse all the way to the top left corner and clicking the back arrow. A single one-handed keypress was ideal in that sense. It reduced RSI considerably. Now users have two options, either move the mouse all the way to the top left or release the mouse to use both hands, because the only combination that works now is left-alt + the left arrow key (warning to any non-experienced users, DO NOT use right-alt with left arrow key, it'll rotate your screen, how about that for user experience).
3. Data showed that 0.04% of all navigate back actions were done using the backspace button. But only 0.005% of navigate backs with backspace button were after form interactions. What they were unable to measure were how many of those 0.005% were intended navigate backs, I would wager quite a few were, making this an absolute non-issue.

Now, personally, I don't mind that Google wanted to make it easier for the ignorant masses that after 15 years were still unable to learn. But the least they could have done was provide us with the option to keep using it through a setting or flag (which, by the way, was a requirement in the original issue, but was not implemented after all). Google seems awfully quiet about this feature that their dedicated fanbase is outraged over.

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