November 14, 2018

Link To Text

An exciting new feature in an upcoming release of Chrome, according to unnamed sources, will be called Link To Text. With this feature a web page can link to some specific text on another page. For example this page on weather.com (owned by IBM) contains the text “30 of their officers lost their homes to the Camp Fire.”

Today we can link to that page using HTML like this:
With Link to Text you can write:
When the user clicks on the link it will take them to the page, as normal, but now it will highlight the given text, and scroll to where it's located:
If the text is not found on that page, however, Chrome will search in the Internet Archive for a version of the page that did have that text on it. So in a sense you travel back in time. Chrome will indicate you have time-travelled with a big header and footer, showing a DeLorean icon and the historical date. Chrome will have a slider so that you can “scrub” forward or backwards in time, and see the text morph and undulate into its present day form.

Beyond just highlighting, there are other ways text could be color coded. If blue means Link To Text Color maybe red could be the False Color, marking text that failed automatic fact-checking using other sites on the web. Maybe even have two shades of red, one which says “this was known to be false when the page was published” and another type of red for “this turned out to be false in the end”. Weather forecasts would't have any of the former red, because no one knew the answer when the forecast came out, but they'd be flooded with the latter type of red, whenever the forecast was off.

Meanwhile green might be the Truth Color. Lines would be shaded green if enough other sites corroborated the statements. Of course you can toggle these RedGreen highlights on or off. Sometimes you just want to read regular text. You could set a threshold, if a page has “too much red” it will pop on the colors automatically. Another idea they have been tossing around is other colors for the saddest sentences in a page, the most heart-felt, or writting quality.

As for mobile Chrome, they are going one step further, an ever-listening “truth detector” will emit a loud 95 decibel screech, if any false statements are uttered while you are nearby. Optionally it can use the camera to fact-check text on paper. Look for these new features in Chrome Desktop and Chrome Mobile coming somewhere between 2019 - 2029.