Imagine having to type more than 140 characters on your smartphone or tablet without auto-correct. It’d be a fiddly, typo-prone affair, right? But would a similar feature make sense on a device with a regular, full-sized keyboard? Chrome OS developers think so.
As a fast but inaccurate typist I find auto-correct to be a definite boon. My copy editor not so much. OS X (Mavericks and up) ships with auto-correct enabled on the desktop by default. It’s a feature I (perhaps) over rely on.
I hammer away in blissful faith, assuming that every crime against spelling that my ill-targeted digits commit will be instantly righted by the computer’s logical brain and read as I intended.
Wrong. Most of my copy has, somewhere, a couple of mangled sentences, a combination of my thumping fingers and an overzealous digital dictionary with a mind of its own. Any article on Wanderlust…Wonder Lost…er, Wunderlist is a good case in point!
Now this boon/bane is targeting Chromebooks. A flag to enable experimental “physical keyboard auto-correction” has been introduced in development builds of Chrome OS (technically it’s been there a while, just hasn’t done anything when enabled).
While Chrome OS allows you to set up multiple keyboard language layouts, and switch between them easily, forcing the language still (for now) appears to do nothing. As such I can’t attest to how well or seamless this feature works nor offer up any screenshots of videos of it in action. Sad times!
Try Chromebook Auto-Correct
But if you’re in the US and want to try it out you can. First flip the following to ‘enabled’. Restart Chrome when prompted.
Now open a Chrome App like Wunderlist and misspell a word – e.g., “chrme” or “cofee”. Chrome should offer suggestions for the correct term. Press the Down arrow key at the last selection in the pop-over to view more suggestions.
Annoying or genius new feature? That’s for you to deer cider.