Another day, another Chrome flag. The browser is starting to let users swipe to go back to the previous page they had open, or come forward again. Even though we knew this behavior would be coming, we'd never seen it live before. A dip into the browsers' flags revealed one that triggers it.

The flag in question is "Overscroll history navigation" (found at this URL: chrome://flags/#overscroll-history-nagivation), and is currently available in the Dev and Canary channels, but will likely make its way to Beta and Stable in the next major versions of Chrome.

The flag is also there in Chrome Beta and Stable, but might show up under a different name: "History navigation with gesture." You can find it at chrome://flags/#enable-gesture-navigation.

Once enabled, it triggers if you swipe a little more than necessary — hence the name "overscroll" — sideways. A swipe from left to right goes back to the previous page in the tab's history, while one from the right to the left goes forward (if that's possible).

Left: Overscroll gestures in action. Right: Flag responsible for them.

The gestures are quite neat and reliable from my experience, letting me easily go back one page to where I was before to check something, then move forward again once I'm done. They add to the tab switching swipe gesture, and make navigation on Chrome even easier.

Chrome Dev
Chrome Dev
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Chrome Canary (Unstable)
Chrome Canary (Unstable)
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free
  • Thanks:
  • Sumanth VS,
  • Kieron Quinn