Chrome OS to Allow Assistant Key Remapping

This bug was starred by 230 Chrome OS users. If you are one of them, say hello in the comments. The bug was submitted to add an option to let users remap the Assistant key in Pixelbook.

Well, there was only Pixelbook when this bug was submitted. There is now Pixel Slate as well.

Remapping keys is a thing in Chrome OS. You can remap the Launcher, Ctrl, Alt, Escape and Backspace keys on your Chromebook.

For example, you can make the search/launcher key work as any of those keys that I just mentioned. Want to use the launcher key as your backspace? you can do that. Want it to work as caps-lock? You got that too.

The Assistant key, a recently introduced feature in Chromebook keyboards, is missing from that list. This is going to change soon.

This code commit that I spotted today does exactly this. The commit log does not give away many details, but the bug associated with this change has a decent explanation:

There a number of use-cases for having a “Super” key AKA Windows key. The Assistant Key would be the natural choice to remap to this, but there’s currently no option to do this.

Some use cases for having a Windows key:

One of the most popular use-cases for Developer mode is to run Ubuntu in a chroot with Crouton. The Unity desktop makes extensive use of shortcuts of keyboard shortcuts prefixed with the Super key.

CrossOver is working on Windows application through CrossOver for Android. Having a Windows key for Windows apps would be welcome.

Without using developer mode, the Android app Termux is another way to access a Linux environment where being able to use “Super key” would be welcome.

crosvm is on the horizon to run more things in containers. Perhaps some of these things would also like to use the Super/Windows key?

Also, not everyone who uses the a Pixelbook will want to use the Assistant due to privacy considerations, making it effectively a dead key if it can’t be remapped to another purpose.

So, the primary intention behind this request was not to let users convert the Assistant key into something else within Chrome OS. Instead, people who use Chromebooks beyond Chrome OS will be the primary beneficiaries of this feature.

Are you one of them?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.