Skip to main content

Google axes backspace navigation in Chrome, but might return it if geeks rebel

Google User
Even though the “do you want to leave this page?” messages in most browsers might be enough to counter the annoyance of hitting backspace and losing a bunch of form content you just finished inputting, Google thinks we can do better. Its solution isn’t complicated though: just remove the backspace functionality altogether.

As online content writers, you can believe the Digital Trends staff has faced its fair share of lost work because of hitting backspace accidentally, but that annoyance extends to many people worldwide who have faced similar issues. Google’s solution will certainly put an end to that. But what about those that like that backspace functionality?

One user in a Chromium bug post (via Engadget) from late last month noticed the change without being aware of it, and highlighted how they had always used backspace rather than their mouse.

“How is someone who grew up in terminal times expected to navigate back when using a two-button mouse? Are you suggesting that the only remaining options are Alt-Left (a two-hand key combo. For that I have to move my mouse hand towards the keyboard, and then back)?”

While that particular user may miss the function, Google’s statistics suggest that that’s unlikely to be a common sentiment. In the announcement detailing the change, it pointed out how just 0.04 percent of page views are navigated to through use of the backspace key.

More important though, is that many page views came from the use of the backspace key after form interaction, suggesting they probably lost data because of it. While clearly more people use it than are aggravated by it, the ratio was enough and usage numbers so low, that Google felt it was worth at least a trial to remove it.

It did say, however, that it planned to monitor the change to see if they was “sufficient outcry,” to return the function.

We’re all for the killing of backspace navigation ourselves, but what about you guys?

Editors' Recommendations