Google contemplates disabling the backspace shortcut in Chrome

— 1:38 PM on May 20, 2016

Google's Chrome browser is a dominant force in the web-browser market. According to, Chrome holds about 43% of the browser market. Google has never been shy about using its dominant position to make changes to the way we use the web, from removing support for the aging NPAPI plugin model to tightening the noose on Flash-based content. Now, Google is considering making a more esoteric change. According to Engadget, some "Canary" versions of Chrome remove the ability to go back using the backspace key.

This move may seem like a strange choice, but Google is backing the decision up with some numbers. According to Google, only 0.04% of page views conclude with a backspace-as-back navigation, and 0.005% of page views come after a user has interacted with a table. These statistics seem to indicate that a significant percentage of backspace-as-back use is accidental, and could result in data loss.

If Google brings this change to mainstream releases of Chrome and turns it on by default, it's likely to be a hotly debated change among the minority of users that still rely on it. For right now, though, the change remains restricted to some of the more-beta-than-beta Canary builds, where Google tests potential new features. Google says it will be implementing this change as a flag, so Canary users who don't like the change can turn it off. 

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options

This discussion is now closed.