Google Chrome may soon get a screenshot editor — and you can thank Microsoft

Google Chrome looks set to get a few new tools for advanced screenshot editing if a new developer flag in Google Canary is any indication.

According to Neowin, the new tools in the beta version of Chrome (called Canary, because of course) give you the option of adding and resizing different shapes like circles, lines, arrows, and squares, as well as options for adjusting thickness, different brush shapes, text captioning and more.

Microsoft Edge also has a capture function known as Web Capture, but at this time you can add only hand-drawn (or mouse-drawn) annotations on the resulting image.

Neowin couldn’t get many of the features to work properly, if at all, and it appears that the new features are in the very early stages of development, so there’s not much you can do with it yet (it even deletes your screenshots if you refresh the browser). But exist it does: Download Canary from Google and type “chrome://flags” in the address bar, then enable “Desktop screenshots” and “Desktop Screenshots Edit Mode,” and restart your browser. 

To screenshot a web page, select the “Share” button on the far right of the address bar and select “Screenshot” and select “Edit” when shown the screenshot preview.

Analysis: the web browser war spurs innovation

Earlier this week, Microsoft Edge officially captured more than 10% of the desktop browser market share for the first time ever, even though it was still way behind Google Chrome in terms of user base (Chrome has about 6.5 times the number of users as Chrome at the moment). 

Still, that doesn’t mean Google Chrome can just continue to coast when there’s a hungry and well-funded rival roaring up from behind. When Chrome took over the market and became the only real game in town (other than a fading Firefox), it could afford to just be a browser and rely on others to develop extensions to its functionality.

That isn’t what Microsoft is doing, however, and the more feature-rich Edge itself becomes, the more enticing it will be for those who distrust third-party extensions. Many extensions don’t play nicely with each other; many come from dubious sources.

Sure, a Chrome extension might easily replicate the Edge browser’s screen-capture feature, but giving that power to a third-party app that might be secreting away your screenshots for some purpose is a dicey proposition for many. People will trust that Microsoft will not do the same, and so Edge becomes more appealing.

If Google wants to keep its … edge, it will need to meet Microsoft where it is and develop its own internal features rather than simply rely on others. That means Google Chrome will hopefully become a much better product than it otherwise might have been.

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