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Goodbye, copy/paste? Google tests ‘Copyless Paste’ in Chrome for Android

Why it matters to you

Copyless Paste could cut out yet another step in your workflow on your phone -- and show up just when you need it to.

The humble copy/paste is a staple of modern technology (and essay-writing), but Google could be looking to cut out 50 percent of those steps. The company is testing a so-called “Copyless Paste” on Android, which allows users to paste text without having to copy it first.

But how does the phone know what to copy? Well, chances are your phone won’t totally cut out copy just yet — but it could intelligently figure out what you might want to copy, even in different apps.

“If you looked at a restaurant website and switched to the Maps app, the keyboard would offer the name of that restaurant as a suggestion to enter into the search bar,” says the code’s description in the Chrome for Android Canary build. Unfortunately, while there’s a flag in the Chrome Canary build, it doesn’t seem as though the feature properly works just yet.

In other words, the feature largely works based on context — which makes sense. A report from XDA-Developers notes that despite numerous attempts to visit restaurant websites, suggestions based on that have yet to pop up.

Copyless Paste was first reported on in March, though at the time the full extent of the feature was unknown. According to a report from VentureBeat, it appears as though Google first started working on the feature in February. It’s likely that Google will deploy the feature to Chrome 60 for Android, which will be launched at some point in the next few months.

The feature does have some restrictions. For example, it’s designed not to work if you’re using Incognito Mode on Chrome for Android. It also does not seem as though lower-end Android phones can currently take advantage of the feature.

It’s also possible that Copyless Paste will show up more widely in Android O once it’s officially released — Android in generally has continued to get more and more contextually aware, and that’s likely to continue.