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‘Auto Select’ Makes it Easy to Use Google Assistant on Chromebooks

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Your Chromebook is getting a new feature that will make using Google Assistant easier. This new feature, called Auto Select, will make a bunch of actions including triggering the Assistant easier.

What is Auto Select?

The most recent version of Chrome OS in the Canary channel has an experimental flag called Auto Select.

Auto Select: Automatically select the word under cursor on contextual menu click. – Chrome OS.

I enabled the flag, completed the customary restart. It took me a while to figure out how this feature works.

Here is what the Auto Select does:

Usually, when you right-click a word or sentence (two-finger tap), the you will see the context menu. The context menu is nothing but the small screen that appears when you right-click anywhere on a web page.

The context menu appears, but the word you right-clicked on is not selected.

This is fine for usual actions. You get the context menu, and then choose one of the options. This could be searching the web for the word or saving the web page to a note taking application.

The Google Assistant Part of the Story

Recently Google added a new feature called Quick Answers to Chrome OS. This is an interesting integration of Chrome OS with the Assistant.

You can right-click and choose a word. The Assistant will use that as a command and display definitions or knowledge cards; the usual Assistant things.

Quick Answers on Chromebook
Quick Answers on Chromebook

Let us now come back to the context menu. To launch the Assistant and Quick answers, you will need to right-click and then select the word.

What if right-clicking selects the word, in a single step?

Then the Assistant and Quick Answers can do its own thing. This makes it easier to use the Assistant on Chromebooks.

Let me show you how this works. First, here is a video before enabling the flag:

Without Auto Select

Now, here is me right-clicking a word after enabling the Auto Select feature.

With Auto Select

As you can see, Google Assistant could launch and show me the response with a single click.


This definitely makes accessing the Assistant easier on Chromebooks. Will there be takers for this feature on the Chrome OS world?

That is something that we will have to wait and watch.

This feature is currently available in the Canary channel of Chrome OS. It might take a while before this lands in the Stable channel. Auto Select may not look or work the same way if it does.

For now, this looks like an useful feature to have. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Share your opinion in the comments section.

2 responses to “‘Auto Select’ Makes it Easy to Use Google Assistant on Chromebooks”

  1. Thank you!!!
    I was looking for directions on how to turn this off.
    It’s NOT a feature I like.

  2. Richard Diamantopoulos Avatar
    Richard Diamantopoulos

    TERRIBLE. The functions selects while I am still reading or WORSE, while I am moving a tab for scrolling to select a completely different item.

    This has impacted my productivity and concentration. HOW DO I DISABLE THIS FUNCITON?

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