Chrome Might Soon Allow Linking to Specific Portions of a Page

Feb 15, 2019 12:13 EST

The ability to share links that redirect you to a specific portion of a webpage has been around for quite some time. It is done via anchors which are hashtags at the end of links that take you to a specific part of the page. It is similar to the one on YouTube which lets you link a video at a particular timestamp. So far, it has been available on a website-to-website basis. Google is experimenting with a new anchor method, where users can create links that will take someone to any given phrase or sentence on a page.

Chrome Story spotted a Chromium Gerrit that mentioned a new "enable-text-fragment-anchor" flag. It may be some time before the feature makes it to the beta channel, though. Chrome engineer David Bokan has the following to say about it:

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When referencing a specific section of a web page, for example as part of sharing that content via email or on social media, it is desirable to be able to link directly to the specific section. If a section is not linkable by a named anchor or element with id, it is not currently possible to share a link directly to a specific section. Users may work around this by sharing screenshots of the relevant portion of the document (preventing the recipient of the content from engaging with the actual web page that hosts the content), or by including extra instructions to scroll to a specific part of the document (e.g. “skip to the sixth paragraph”). We would like to enable users to link to the relevant section of a document directly. Linking directly to the relevant section of a document preserves attribution, and allows the user following the URL to engage directly with the original publisher

You can find out more about how it works on David's GitHub page. The feature is still very early in development, so we're several months away from seeing this in a stable version of Chrome. It's also possible that Google might decide not to implement this altogether. After all, it is little more than a minor QoL upgrade that'll go unnoticed by most users.