Meet ‘Commander’, a New Way to use Google Chrome

Google is working on ‘Commander’ for Chrome. From the initial descriptions, this feature will add a “text interface to browser features”. Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + SPACE to launch the Commander.

Update – Screenshots

Update on 02-MAR-2020: Screenshots.

Press CTRL + SPACE and you will see the commander field. It works like a way to use Chrome features using text. You can also see your history items here, just like on the address bar.

To open a new tab, you can type Open new tab.

Chrome Commander – Example 2
Chrome Commander – Example 1

How to Enable Commander

Commander is still a work-in-progress feature. This means you should enable an experimental flag to use Commander.

  1. Open chrome://flags
  2. Search for commander (or directly visit chrome://flags/#commander)
  3. Select “Enabled” from the drop-down list.
  4. Restart Chrome.

To use commander, type CTRL + SPACE.

Why is this exciting?

I do not see accessibility mentioned anywhere in code change requests for Commander. So, could this be a feature to help Chrome integrate with voice assistants better?

Text Interface

Let us start with the new Chrome flag:

Commander – Enable a text interface to browser features

Luckily for us, the Chromium bug to track this feature is public and it has more details.

“This is a tracking bug for experimenting with a command palette: a text interface to common Chromium functionality.”

Look at this comment:

Commander: Add Google Apps command source

“This command source adds commands to create a new Doc, Sheet, Meet, etc.
It doesn’t require any integration, since it takes advantage of the new
docs.new etc. URLs.”

Now, here is the corresponding code:

There will be a way to type “New Google Doc” and Chrome will open the recently added shortcut https://docs.new which will then create a new Google Doc in your account.

Now, think about Google Assistant on the web. You will need an interface to listen to someone saying “New Google Doc” and then convert that into an action.

Do you see why I am excited about this feature?

Conclusion

The Commander feature is yet to land in the Canary channel. I will test it and update this article as soon as I have access to the latest build with this flag.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about this new feature. Is this simply a text interface feature for other purposes or, does it have something with voice assistants?

Add your thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s discuss.

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