Google tests a new swipe gesture for cursor control in Chrome for Android 11
Recent builds of Google Chrome 89, now in the Canary channel, have added a feature flag titled “swipe to move cursor.” The description of this flag states that it “allows user to use touch gestures to move the text cursor around. This flag will only take effect on Android 11 and above.”
What this feature does is it lets Chrome for Android users swipe left or right on the screen when text input is focused — even when the keyboard isn’t showing — to move the cursor. Many keyboard apps like Gboard and SwiftKey have cursor control gestures/buttons, but this feature works independently of the keyboard app. To confirm this, we tested this feature with both the Gboard app and the keyboard that’s part of Keepass2Android. The feature worked when either keyboard was set as the default input method.
Although the feature flag is present in Chrome for Android in the Canary channel, there’s no guarantee this feature will be enabled by default in a future stable release. We’ll have to wait and see.
Being able to precisely move a cursor around on a mobile device is incredibly convenient and eliminates having to touch the spot on your display where you want your cursor to be. Often, tapping on your display to move the cursor can be inaccurate — frustratingly so — so more refined cursor control is always appreciated. This new feature for Chrome on Android could take a lot of pain points out of trying to highlight text or simply insert the cursor in a more precise location.
Over the last few weeks, Google has made some helpful changes to Chrome on Android, and recently it was discovered Google was working on scrolling screenshot support in the browser. While the feature described here is still a ways off — and, as we said, there’s no guarantee it’ll hit a stable release — we’re excited to see Google continue to make quality of life changes to the browser.