One of the more useful features of Windows 10, as well as Gboard for Android, is the ability to temporarily store and manage the things you’ve recently copied to your clipboard. Now, Google is looking to bring a similar clipboard manager to Chrome OS with support for text, images, and more.
On Windows 10, you can use the Windows + V key combo to pull up a list of things you’ve recently copied, which is especially handy for times when you accidentally copy over something you were meaning to keep in your clipboard. Android, like many other operating systems, can only offer this capability through an installed app such as Gboard, which only just this year gained support for saving recently copied images.
According to a newly posted code change, with an accompanying flag in chrome://flags, Google is preparing a built-in clipboard manager for Chrome OS. Judging from the flag’s description, it seems to be inspired by Windows 10’s own clipboard manager, using a similar key combo.
Pressing search + v will show a menu that allows you to paste things previously copied.
The key combo itself, Search + V, isn’t too surprising, as Chrome OS uses the Search key in many other useful ways, such as Search + Left for the Home key and Search + A for the Google Assistant. In this case, Search + V was likely chosen for the clipboard manager to be similar to the Ctrl + V combo for paste on most computers.
In its current early stage of development, Chrome OS’s clipboard manager will store the five most recent things you’ve copied, with planned support for text, formatted text, images, web links in a bookmark format, and something called “web smart paste.”
Digging into an older code change from the same developer, we believe that Chrome OS’s clipboard manager is being given the fitting codename “tote.” From this same code, we also believe that “tote” will have a dedicated button in Chrome OS’s quick settings tray, in addition to being easily opened with Search + V.
Update 7/17: After three more weeks of development, Chrome OS’s clipboard manager has begun to arrive on the latest Chrome OS Canary builds, as noted by Chrome Story. Interestingly, Google has taken the time to give the feature’s flag in chrome://flags a much more friendly name and description.
Productivity Experiment: Enable Enhanced Clipboard
Enables an experimental clipboard history which aims to reduce context switching. After copying to the clipboard, press search + v to show the history. Selecting something from the menu will result in a paste to the active window.
With its arrival, we also get our first look at how the clipboard manager’s UI will work. When you press the designated “Search + V” key combo, a card will appear on the screen near your text cursor or caret. From there you can either use your mouse, touchscreen, or the arrow keys to select one of the up to five options displayed. Depending on what it is you’ve copied, you’ll see a different icon next to each entry.
At the bottom of the card, you’re also offered the option to “Delete All,” which clears your recent history of clipboard items. Importantly, this does not clear your clipboard’s currently copied item. Helpfully, pressing Search + V when your history is empty will simply paste the most recent item instead of opening the card.
Given the clipboard manager’s new flag name, we’re curious if Google plans to launch any more “Productivity Experiments” for Chrome OS in the near future. As someone who uses a Chromebook as my daily driver, I sincerely hope that’s the case and that these become more than just “experiments.”
All in all, assuming this new clipboard manager actually launches and isn’t canceled, it will make for another excellent step forward for helping Chrome OS be on-par with the likes of Windows, something that Parallels is planning to help with. For now though, as the feature is still early in development, it’s hard to even guess when we may expect to get our hands on this particular “tote.”
More on Chrome OS:
- Chrome OS set to gain Android-like ‘Sharesheet’
- Android’s AirDrop, Nearby Sharing, shows signs of debuting on Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS
- Chrome OS to gain on-device Google Assistant for ‘the most common queries’
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