Chrome Gets Smarter Auto Form Filling, Google Pushes to Make It HTML5 Standard

To make it easier and faster to fill various online forms

Google is working on making it easier to auto-complete forms found online. Like several other major browsers, Chrome comes with a rather thorough autofill feature. It remembers data you provide to one website, when signing up for example, so it can automatically fill the same fields on other sites.

If it works, it's rather convenient, you don't have to type your name, address and so on all the time. But it doesn't always work, plenty of times the wrong fields are filled with info, or they aren't filled at all. It requires a lot of hand-holding.

But that's about to change, if an initiative by Google and other "autofill vendors" to standardize a way of explicitly telling a browser which field is which is adopted.

"We're pleased to announce support in Chrome for an experimental new 'autocomplete type' attribute for form fields that allows web developers to unambiguously label text and select fields with common data types such as 'full-name' or 'street-address'," Google wrote.

For now, Google has built the proposed standard into Chrome and Chromium and labeled it as experimental.

Websites that want to use it must add the "autocompletetype" attribute to fields to specify the type of the field, to be used by auto-complete features. For now, the attribute has to start with an "x-" as it's experimental.

"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,"

It may be a while before this gets built into the HTML5 standard, even as defined by WHATWG, which has a much less rigorous approach than the W3C. But early support in Chrome will spur both websites and other browsers, or extensions that add the functionality, to work on adding support as well.

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