Chrome omnibox keyword search broken

Update 2021-02-24: The Chrome developers have rolled back the change.

The latest stable Chrome (released February 4), breaks the way keywords can be used to invoke search engines from the omnibox (address bar). TLDR: typing space after the keyword no longer works, but tab does. Disabling the omnibox-keyword-search-button flag will revert to the old behaviour.

Prior to the upgrade I could type g foo directly in the omnibox, hit enter, and get Google search results for “foo”. After typing the space after the “g”, the keyword gets expanded to “Search Google” or similar, so in the case of “g foo”, you actually see something like “Search Google | foo”.

screenshot of omnibox with "g " expanded to "Search Google |"

This works because I configured Google search to use the “g” keyword, from the chrome://settings/searchEngines settings page, as documented by Google.

screenshot of Chrome search engine settings with Google using the "g" keyword

However, this stopped working in Chrome 88.0.4324.150. Instead of “g foo” invoking the search engine I’d configured with keyword “g”, it invoked the default search engine with the query “g foo”! This was extremely disconcerting since I’m very accustomed to using keyword prefixes to search different websites.

However, you can still get at the keyword search functionality by hitting tab after the keyword rather than space. So in the previous example, typing gtabfoo will search for “foo”. The tab key doesn’t work quite the same way that space used to: it moves focus to a button in the autocomplete list for the keyword search, but merely having focus is enough to activate the search when you continue typing.

screenshot of the "Search Google" button focused in the omnibox autocomplete list

The Chrome search engine shortcuts no longer auto-fill with space bug on the Chromium tracker explains that this is due to the new button, and that you can get space working again by opening the chrome://flags/#omnibox-keyword-search-button settings and disabling the omnibox-keyword-search-button flag.

Make control-h backspace in TextMate

In macOS, ^h (AKA control + h or ctrl h) will usually delete backward one character, i.e. do the same thing as backspace or what Apple labels delete on its keyboards. Therefore it’s somewhat disconcerting that ^h in TextMate runs “Documentation for Word” or similar “Documentation for Current Word” actions.

Here’s how to disable the default control-h behaviour in TextMate 2.0, and get backspace behaviour instead.

From the menu bar, click Bundles > Select Bundle Item.

screenshot of TextMate Select Bundle Item dialog

From the gear menu in the “Select Bundle Item” dialog, select “Key Equivalent”.

TextMate Select Bundle Item dialog searching for ^h key equivalent

In the search box, press ^h.

Then for each of the matching documentation actions (there may be several from different bundles), click “edit” then clear the “Key equivalent” field in the side drawer. Close the bundles window and save.

screenshot of the TextMate bundle editor

Repeat the previous step for any other bundles that define a documentation action for ^h.

WordPress GCS plugin broken thumbnails

The GCS plugin for WordPress lets you use Google Cloud Storage for WordPress’s media and other uploads. This is required on stateless environments like App Engine, where there’s no persistent writable filesystem to store uploads.

However, image thumbnailing and rescaling is broken by default when using the plugin, so while you can upload an image, the thumbnails that usually get automatically generated will never appear in the GCS bucket. So if you add high-resolution images to a post, load times will be massively increased, which is a particularly bad experience for low-resolution mobile devices.

I raised a WordPress ticket and attached a patch that fixes the issue. The patch needs to be applied to the core WordPress installation (rather than being a plugin), so may not be an option for WordPress admins that are using multisite hosting. I think a plugin-based fix would be possible (one that replaced the default image editor with a fixed one), but would involve duplicating a bunch of code from core WordPress.

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