Google is finally adopting a standard that supports both mouse and touch navigation for its Chrome browser. If you’ve used a copy of Chrome on a Windows tablet recently then you’ll probably be familiar with the poor scrolling performance and general touch support, and it’s something Google will now address across all of its versions of Chrome. Google revealed today that it plans to support Pointer Events, a standard that was first introduced by Microsoft in Internet Explorer.
Janky Android scrolling will be a thing of the past
Google has traditionally focused its efforts on supporting Touch Events, a method used by Apple in its Safari browser. Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera have all adopted Pointer Events, and Google says that feedback from the web community has led to the change in heart. With support for Pointer Events, scrolling and touch interactions should improve dramatically in Chrome. Google’s Rick Byers admits "replacing all touch event handlers with pointer event handlers will address the main longstanding source of scroll-start jank we see on Android."
Chrome users won’t see the improvements immediately, as it will take time for Google to build the support and test it with nightly and weekly versions of Chrome, but it’s encouraging to see Google finally back the standard. While Google and Microsoft have argued over privacy policies, YouTube on Windows Phone, and other topics, it appears the two companies have worked closely to make this a reality. Google’s Rick Byers says "Jacob Rossi on the IE team has been very helpful" in assisting the Chrome team with its adoption of Pointer Events. Google has some technical hurdles to work through, but the company says it’s "optimistic" it can implement the standard alongside its existing Touch Events support without performance constraints.