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Google reverses field, promises to restore Chrome's scrollbar arrows

Squawking pays off; Chrome 34 on Windows will return navigational aids to browser

February 20, 2014 03:16 PM ET

Computerworld - Google has backtracked from changes that made Chrome's scrollbar non-standard, a move that infuriated some users a month ago when the Mountain View, Calif. company rolled out Chrome 32.

Windows users had stormed onto the company's support forum to complain about the changes, which they said made the browser's vertical scrollbar unusable.

Their grievances condensed around two issues: First, Chrome's scrollbars were significantly thinner, and second, Google dumped the scroll arrows, also called "steppers," within the scrollbar. Those changes, griped users, were not only contrary to accepted practice in Windows software, but made navigating long Web pages difficult, sometimes impossible.

"This is ridiculous. Please use the native controls/UI elements of the OS your application runs on," wrote one user last month.

Yesterday, a Google representative said that the company's developers would reverse one of the two changes.

"Arrows will be returned to scrollbars in version 34 of Chrome," wrote SarahMM, who was identified as a Google employee. "You can access this version of Chrome now by downloading Canary."

"Canary" is the label for the very-early version of the browser, earlier than even Chrome's Dev channel, much less Beta or Stable.

If SarahMM was giving users the straight story, the scrollbar steppers will return to the Stable, or most-polished version, around the end of March or in early April.

Google just shipped Chrome 33 Stable today, and typically takes around five to six weeks to deliver the next version.

But SarahMM's promise that Google would restore the steppers was too late to hang onto at least one customer.

"Uninstalling Chrome due to lack of scroll bar arrows. Bye," wrote Bob Irwin on the same support forum Tuesday, a day before SarahMM posted her message.

Chrome 34 Canary can be downloaded from Google's website, and will run alongside an existing Stable edition of the browser.

covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at Twitter @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed Keizer RSS. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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