Hot Corners-Like CornerShortcuts For Chromebooks Are Officially Dead

Chrome falling off Chromebook AH 2020 edit
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Google has now abandoned a MacOS 'hot corners'-like feature for Chromebooks called CornerShortcuts. That's based on a recently spotted commit in the Chromium Gerrit colorfully highlighting the decision. Specifically, the commit says that the project is no longer moving forward. It indicates that Googlers will "rip out the flag and associated feature control."

That unequivocally brings the development on the feature to an end, at least for now. Googlers are removing all associated flags as well. So anybody who may have turned on an early version of CornerShortcuts will no longer have access to those.

What were these hot corners-like CornerShortcuts for Chromebooks?

For all intents and purposes, CornerShortcuts on Chromebooks appeared set to rival the hot corners features found in macOS and similar features found on Linux operating systems. The expected result would have been another way for Google's operating system to deliver functionality and productivity often directly associated with the competition.

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Summarily, the expectation was for the feature to work almost identically to how it does on other platforms. That's based on the initial description, indicating that users could "configure actions for corners of the display."

The implication of that is that, like in macOS, users would be able to move their mouse all the way to the corner of the display. Once there, a short hover would trigger a variety of actions settable by the user.

On Mac computers, the triggers can be set for any corner of the display. Different actions are individually assignable to each corner. For instance, users can access screensavers, the Notification Center, or get an overview of their application windows, among other things.

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Google would have likely followed in a similar vein, offering users a quick way to get to some internal settings. But the company recently worked to make three-finger gestures a possibility when it comes to accessing the Overview Mode and other settings. So it isn't clear whether it would have gone with a direct copy of Apple's feature.

It's equally likely that Google would have opted to give users options for accessing Google Assistant via that method, for example. It's possible to assign a shortcut to access that feature. Or users can start by tapping the search key and then typing or clicking a mic icon to use Assistant.

But the company probably would have opened up a variety of alternatives. That could have included anything from app launching to accessibility features.

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Why did Google choose to abandon this project?

Now, there was never a guarantee that Google would continue working on its hot corners-emulating CornerShortcuts for Chromebooks. As with all such experiments, the search giant typically takes its time, garners feedback, tests, and reviews the viability of such features before finalization. As noted above, this particular project was also relatively short-lived.

There's no reason given for Google's decision here either. It seems likely that a combination of factors probably contributed to its demise. Not least of all, Google is still short-handed and on-hand workers may be in short supply for some time to come. But it's not out of the question though that the feature simply wasn't panning out. At least not in the way the company wanted it to.

Google may or may not return to development later on. Regardless of the reasoning, however, for the time being, CornerShortcuts are dead in the water.

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