Google is working on building a new clipboard syncing feature into Chrome, and recent code changes suggest it could support images.
Back in September, the Chrome team began implementing a native clipboard sharing feature called ‘Shared Clipboard.’ It’s live in the Chrome Canary right now, an early developer preview of the browser to test new features. However, the current implementation only works with plain text.
Further, the current implementation isn’t automatic. You can find a more in-depth breakdown of the feature here, but as it currently stands, you have to copy text to this synchronized clipboard manually. To do so, right-click on highlighted text and click the ‘Send text to…’ It’s followed by connected devices, such as Pixel 3.
While the current Shared Clipboard feature only works with text, code uncovered by Chrome Story revealed work on adding support for images.
The code changes appeared on the Chromium Gerrit, an online collaboration tool for sharing, reviewing and submitting code changes to Chrome’s open-source foundation, Chromium.
There are three bugs attached to the code change that reveal more information about how the feature may work. The first bug, number 1018138, is titled “[Shared Clipboard] Image support for the first integration.” It includes an outline from Chrome developers detailing how to implement the feature. It’s as follows:
- Exact details TBD but the general shape of this is:
- Add image url to message proto
- When received, verify this is a valid and trustworthy source
- Fetch the image in a utility process
- Write the image to the clipboard
- Show a notification to the user
Bug 1018132 simply requests the addition of a “feature flag for receiving and handling an image payload.”
Finally, bug 1020582 explains the image sharing in Shared Clipboard likely won’t be ready in time for Chrome version 80. The current stable version of Chrome is 78, so image sharing in the Shared Clipboard is likely at least three releases away (in version 81).