Google has released a new Chrome extension that lets you link to a specific block of text inside a webpage. Similar to how you’d create YouTube links to a video’s timestamp, these customized web addresses directly skip to and highlight the section you’ve selected as soon as the webpage renders.
Simply called Link to Text Fragment, the add-on is available on the Chrome Web Store for free. To use it, first make sure you have the latest version of either Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Next, once you’ve installed the extension on your computer, right-click a piece of text on a webpage and select the Copy Link to Selected Text option. You can then paste the link wherever you’d like to share it.
Link to Text Fragment is based on a new technology Google recently rolled out for its Chrome browser called Text Fragments. It’s the same module Google is now employing to highlight the snippet that appears at the top of a web search when you click the linked source.
While it was already possible to compose these fragmented links by appending the text in question at the end of a normal URL, Link to Text Fragment saves you from manual labor and lets you generate them with a click of a button.
This capability is limited to Google Chrome and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. Therefore, the addresses Link to Text Fragment produces won’t work on other browsers like Firefox or Safari. In a technical blog post, Google says that as of June 17, “Safari and Firefox have not publicly signaled an intent to implement the feature.” On incompatible browsers, the link will open the webpage as it normally would.
Link to Text Fragment is a handy extension that can especially prove useful when you want to guide someone to a section inside a lengthy webpage. However, due to the nascent technology it is based on, it’s far from perfect yet. In my testing, I found it largely inconsistent as it would often refuse to highlight the text or throw an error that said I needed to select a longer sequence of text.