Chrome may soon add native clipboard sharing

One of Chrome’s signature features is the option to sync your complete browsing experience across all devices you own. There are just a couple of notable exceptions from this synchronization though, including the option to access the same clipboard across multiple devices, which would allow you to copy and paste information from one computer to another (or to a phone). While some extensions can provide this ability, sharing everything you type with a browser add-on comes with inherent security risks. As such, Google appears to be working on native clipboard sharing capability, although we don’t have a lot of details yet.

Chrome Story spotted a code change request in the Chromium Gerrit, asking for “Feature flags for Shared Clipboard feature.” Specifically, two new flags should find their way into Chrome:

Enable receiver device to handle shared clipboard feature – Enables receiver device to handle shared clipboard feature by showing a notification to receive the clipboard to share.

Enable shared clipboard feature signals to be handled – Enables shared clipboard feature signals to be handled by showing a list of user’s available devices to share the clipboard.

As you can judge from these, clipboard data shouldn’t automatically be shared across all your devices at all times. Instead, you’ll have to choose recipients manually. It remains to be seen whether the feature will see some automatization, but it’s safe to assume that sharing is intentionally limited as to refute privacy concerns – after all, you don’t want your password manager’s clipped data flying around through the web.

This work could be built on the foundation of OneChrome, another Chromium Gerrit commit that appears to mimic Apple’s Continuity feature. It should allow Chrome and Android devices to interact more seamlessly, so users can make calls right through Chrome or share WiFi credentials on the fly. While some of these OneChrome abilities appear to be specifically targeted towards ChromeOS and Android, the Shared Clipboard flag seems to be platform agnostic.

In any case, while these options have yet to find their way into Google’s browser, they’ll most likely surface in Chrome’s developer preview first, Canary. It’s available for all major desktop systems and Android devices. Keep in mind that this is the most unstable version of the application, so you might be better off using the regular version if you’re not a developer yourself.

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