Google has released a new Chrome extension that makes it easier for people to link to specific pieces of text within a page.
With the launch of Chrome 80 back in February, Google’s browser began supporting a feature called Scroll to Text Fragment.
The feature was the subject of controversy when it initially launched because it enables deep links to web documents without the use of an anchor.
Scroll to Text Fragment allows anyone to create a link that, upon click, takes users to a specific piece of text on a page.
Similar capabilities have existed in the past, but it always required the page author to code an anchor into the page that others could link to.
Scroll to Text Fragment lets users link to any portion of a page without relying on author annotations, which is something that concerns privacy researchers.
Here’s just one example of the arguments that were made against Scroll to Text Fragment when it first launched:
Imposing privacy and security leaks to existing sites (many of which will never be updated) REALLY should be a “don’t break the web”, never cross, redline. This spec does that.
— Pete Snyder (@pes10k) February 18, 2020
Regardless of what has been said about Scroll to Text Fragment up until now, Google Chrome continues to support it.
In fact, Google is effectively doubling down on its support for Scroll to Text Fragment with the release of this new extension.
Link to Text Fragment Chrome Extension
Creating a link which utilizes the Scroll to Text Fragment capability in Chrome was previously somewhat cumbersome, as it had to be done manually.
Now, with a simple Chrome extension, anyone can easily create a link to any piece of text on any page.
Link to Text Fragment, as the extension is called, was developed by Google and released this week.
Here’s what the official page on the Chrome web store says about it:
“Browser extension that allows for linking to arbitrary text on a page.
This extension allows for easily creating a special link to the currently selected text on a page via the context menu.
When opening such a special link, a compatible browser will scroll the selected text into view and highlight it.”
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Using the extension is relatively straightforward. After installing it simply highlight the text on a page you want to link to.
Right-click on the text and choose “Copy Link to Selected Text” from the context menu.
The selected text will be briefly highlighted in yellow to indicate the link creation was successful.
Now you can paste your link wherever you want to share it.
Here’s a quick demo video of the extension in action:
Google Chrome is currently the only browser that supports Scroll to Text Fragment, which means a text fragment link will act as a regular link if opened in another browser.
Perhaps other browsers will support this feature in the future, but that remains to be seen.
The controversy surrounding Scroll to Text Fragment has died down since it was first introduced in February. Although, to be fair, there have been far more important things for people to worry about during that time.
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Source: Chrome Web Store
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