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Chrome lets Web pages use smarter autofill technology

Web developers can explicitly label fields with the type of data they're expecting to cut down on autofill errors. Google wants to standardize it as part of HTML5.

Google hopes to cut down on Web browsers' autofill confusion.
Google hopes to cut down on Web browsers' autofill confusion. Google

I'll be honest here. I disabled Chrome's autofill ability. I hate it.

Maybe it's because I have too many e-mail addresses, or even regular addresses--I moved a lot in the last couple years. Maybe it's because my wife and I use the same computer. Maybe it's because my international life involves too many formats for phone numbers, postal codes, and codes guichet.

But filling out forms is certainly tedious, so I was delighted to hear that there's going to be a way for Web developers to straighten this out.

Specifically, Google and others are working on a technology that will label fields on Web pages so that browsers can know what data they're supposed to fill in--e-mail address, phone number, or first name, for example.

Google Chrome logo

Support for the "experimental" technology is now built into Chrome, Google programmer Ilya Sherman said in a blog post yesterday. Sherman also encouraged Web programmers to try the autofill feature out.

Next up: standardization.

"We've been working on this design in collaboration with several other autofill vendors. Like any early-stage proposal we expect this will change and evolve as the Web standards community provides feedback, but we believe this will serve as a good starting point for the discussion on how to best support autofillable forms in the HTML5 spec," Sherman said.