Google is working on several touch friendly features for use on its popular Chrome browser. Included in the latest nightly “Canary” build are three new early-stage options for browsing the web using your fingers on a screen: slide to navigate, pinch to zoom, and support for Window 8’s on-screen keyboard.
The first of these features is essentially the touchscreen version of the back and forward navigation gesture that trackpads have been supporting for a while, and it’s almost identical to the same feature found within Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8. Meanwhile, an “enable pinch scale” option suggests that Google is experimenting with pinch-to-zoom features for its desktop version of Chrome, though it doesn’t seem to be functional for now.
Again, pinch to zoom gestures are supported via trackpads on Windows and OS X, although it’s unclear if Chrome’s implementation will more closely mimic the smooth animation on its mobile counterparts that let you zoom in specific areas of a website, or just a touchscreen friendly version of hitting Ctrl +/- on the keyboard.
Rounding out the trio of features being tested is on-screen keyboard support, which is self explanatory, and limited to Windows 8 users. The keyboard UI pops up whenever the user taps the address bar or text boxes.
Although all are relatively minor features, they are certainly a nice addition with the increasing number of touchscreen-equipped Windows 8 machines, as well as the company’s own Chromebook Pixel.