Google relents and adopts a Microsoft API to improve scrolling in Chrome

While there's no timeline on when the API will be implemented, this does represent a small feather in the hat for Microsoft as the two companies have historically been at odds with one another over browser standards.

The Chromium team notes that though it initially decided to focus on improving existing APIs, feedback from developers has swayed them to adopt the Pointer Events API that has already seen wide use in Internet Explorer, Mozilla, and Opera. From the Chromium Google Group:

Pointer Events offers some technical advantages over the existing use of Touch Events and Mouse Events. Most notably, pointer event listeners never block scrolling, and so replacing all touch event handlers with pointer event handlers will address the main longstanding source of scroll-start jank we see on Android (irrespective of whatever scheduler improvements we're able to make to better prioritize input handling).

The above is a lot of technical speak that boils down to this: the Pointer Events API will offer improved, smoother scrolling for Chrome users by combining touch and mouse events into a single set — as opposed to the current implementation that handles the interactions separately.

No matter how you look at it, this is a pretty interesting development. Scrolling in Internet Explorer and the other browsers that use the Pointer Events API is pretty smooth, and Chrome has historically suffered from some jankiness even as Google pushed further improvements to the browser's current API. Going further, it will be interesting to see what other improvements to the browsing experience Microsoft may come up with as development on the Project Spartan browser continues.

Source: Chromium Google Group; Via: Engadget

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Chromium is actually the forked idiot that is screwing up the internet right now. And developers know it.
  • How is it screwing-up the net?
  • If I had to guess, probably another case where they try to force custom code to achieve new "features" and move web developers/designers away from using standards. It's part of the reason why IE has such a hard time with so many websites.
  • This is exactly the problem. Frankenstandards.
  • "Frankenstandards" is a great way of putting it. I'll have to borrow that. :-)
  • Yep. And because they have such a large market share web devs code for the defacto standards rather than actual standards.
  • Ironic. And remember how standards got the name?
  • So how exactly are they forced?
  • Inform yourself. They sh*t about WC3 standards and that is killing the whole idea...
  • You mean screwing up the Web? Not the Internet, bru.
  • Or Canary the same piece of dumb!
  • :)
  • Everybody! Use Maxthon on your PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones. The best and perfect web browser.
  • Nope
  • Nope
  • Maxthon is good for tablets, but not for PCs
  • Becareful with using Maxthon. If you find something else, dont use it.
  • Is it chinese?
  • Dude, where did you get that out!
    Maxthon is for touch input screens!
    Not a PC or Mac
  • Just try it. You will love Maxthon! (:
  • I use, and it is amazing. Stealth oriented, it allows you to view whatever's viewing you-and block it. Cookies. Bots. Plugins. If you aren't sure, each blocked item can also be researched by ghostery and its community. Reddit us actually pretty safe, adwise. WC, not as much, unfortunately.
  • Great! Not!
  • It actually is great :).
  • It's not great on the part where Chrome and Chromium are going to improve.
    It's great where they admit that they suck on one thing and Microsoft has it going right.
  • Is it really that big of a deal that Chrome gets better? Explain.
  • I come here to read on Windows/Microsoft and how it does better, not how the competition is getting better. You normally go to see a website based on your team, only to read that their compeitition is getting better on your team's website? You want your team to win, not see that their competition will continue to improve or cotinue leaving it's compeition behind in the dust. And I am anti-Google, anything bad happening on Google's side the better I feel. I don't have to explain anything really. (If they get better they will take more marketshare from IE, not something I am happy to hear about. IE loses badly on most browser benchmarks compared to Chrome, I rather see less of them winning and more of them losing. Spartan better be as expected.)
  • If one doesn't know anything about the competition, how can one improve his/her/their own things? Good reporters report all sides, not just the one they like. Also, #dontreadifyoudontcare
  • You report about your team's growth, not about how your team is being pullverized by the competition. How you can improve, not how their team can improve or has improved. The topic should be about IE teaching Chrome a lesson. In Android Central it should read that Chrome has a found a way to improve. Either way, we can know about the competition but don't report it on the a competitor's site, that's praising the enemy. Good reporters put the right topics in their right places as well. Talking positive about Google is against the majority of us that came here to hear good news about IE. #Youcametothewrongsideofthebarrio
  • Keep your friends close. Your enemies closer. ;)
  • I'll agree with you on that. On the other hand, I avoid Google like the plague if possible.(YouTube is my go-to place only because I joined through On2, shame. Even one of the On2 developers called YouTube's current design crap.)
  • You cant hate scroogle more than me bro! Let it slide. Reporters have to cover every story related to Windows and Microsoft.
  • I wouldn't care about who hates Scroogle more at this point. And, no, they don't have to cover every story related to Windows and Microsoft. Even if they did have to, they shouldn't try to make IE look bad.(This story was a so-and-so. And others might throw more rational explanations. I am merely typing while part-sleeping)
  • Google adopting a *Microsoft made* API that people have enjoyed and seen value in for a while has nothing to do with Microsoft? I love Microsoft, but I don't understand when people pray for the death of Google and/or Apple. Competition benefits EVERYONE. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • LOL! Coming from someone that uses Android. I find this illogical when Windows Central App should only be Windows Phone. Bing should be for Windows Phone, yet apps make Google the default search engine, look at Opera Mini; and it makes it the only search engine(I mean, seriously?) The topic has to do with Microsoft IE which I am okay with, but the topic mentions that it benefits Chrome and makes it BETTER, now that I am not okay with. Yes, I have nothing against competition, but I don't praise my enemy for being or getting better, when their betterment only makes me fall behind in the race. Chrome does better on benchmarks, overall rendering, extensions, getting standards in their favor, why add more reasons to say that IE sucks, here? Sure, you can do that in Android Central(I would rant if anything favoring Microsoft, Bing, or Apple is published in Android Central).
  • I usually read on my 1520, 635, or Surface Pro 3, but will pick up whatever is at hand like this Galaxy S tab 7.4 Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • omg. What are you gonna do if microsoft screwed up big time? Nuke every other fanboy?
  • Yeah but that's just, like, your opinion man
  • It is about Google adopting an open standard that Microsoft champions. Which is EXCELLENT news because web developers in general wouldn't support pointer events in their code otherwise. This article is written much better then WC :
  • Taking this stuff way too seriously. Unless you work for MS, talks of "teams" and "enemies" in regards to companies that could give two shits about you in the end just sounds like having your priorities out of whack. Unless, again, you work for MS or Google personally stole your lunch money or something, lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • When audio calls for whatsapp like in android? Everyone's into it here.
  • we'll mostly get it after the buzz has died out, and very few people use it.
  • We should. It affects us as consumers.
  • Chrome users. And apparently you since you decided to click on the post and comment.
  • Not me, don't use that trojan horse
  • We should welcome news that put down the competition. We need to care about this.
  • I do. If it means an even better experience on Chrome, great. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • No one really, really. Except someone who had to break the news to the boss at Google in charge of Chrome that they should just adopt something else foe a browser they built from scratch.
  • "Should adopt something else foe(for/from?) a browser (that) they built from scratch." Chrome and Chromium were not built from scratch. They were built from WebKit, now they are a forked version of WebKit called "Blink," but they were not built from scratch.
  • Good move! :)
  • Jank
  • So this will applicable on Chrome for all operating systems? Or just specifically to Windows?
  • It was stated in the article to just Chrome on Android.
  • Thanks for pointing out. How could I miss this in the article.
  • No problem, it happens.
  • More accurately, pointer events will be implemented across the entire Blink engine, including desktop. But the performance increase will be noticed mostly on Android. This article says that the performance improvements are because pointer events and mouse events are combined into one API. This is inaccurate. Yes, pointer events do combine these. But no, this is not where the performance benefit comes from. In fact, pointer events aren't used for native scrolling at all. However touch events block scrolling until they resolve whereas pointer events don't. Hence less lag. Also to clarify the point in the article about IE scrolling being fast, this is not actually to do with pointer events (again, as above, pointer events are not used for native scrolling). The team spent a long time hardware-accelerating the scrolling in general, reducing the lag down to 1-2 frames and giving a very tactile feel.
  • Should I test there new scrolling. Will it help? btw when will this be relaesed in Canada?
  • The article stated there is no set release or even the date of implementation for any country that is.
  • Its a joke
  • When India?
  • We should start a petition to get an official set of Google apps... Making it very public that google is snubbing windows, and how anticompetitive that actually is, given how dominant it's own platform is, and the sheer number of people running windows 8/phone 8 right now... Let alone the huge numbers that are very likely to come from the heavy windows 10 adoption, which could easily double that of windows 8, to well over 400 million.
  • Or if you give me a couple of other WP developers as a team, we could build some pretty kick butt client apps. Its to much time for just me to do it, even though I already build needed and unofficial apps, its to much.
  • for gmail, we have good 3rd party email apps, and even the system email works alright.
    youtube 3rd party apps are better than official ones on other platforms (also, no ads).
    instead of google drive, use onedrive or dropbox. both have great apps.
    don't really think other google services matter much.
    maybe just google docs and sheets.
  • Well I know id like to have a good 3rd party google plus app. I use it to keep in contact with certain family members.
  • Google Plus works great in the IE browser, though. Give it a try. If you want it as an app, wrap it up in Visual Studio, since you are a dev already. Implement a simple, standard web browser app template that points to and leave it without unnecessary navigation buttons. Possibly, implement a "[...]" menu with one menu choice called "Start", "Home" or something else. Then possibly add menu choices like "My profile", "Circles", etc. Just point those at the corresponding links for each desirable page on the site domain and you have your own app capable of handling G+. Google would not bother doing much else than a wrapper, anyway, so it is easy to emulate their idea.
  • Glad this is a small positive for Microsoft. Google is still awful, however.
  • Absolutely, all of there products are very unappealing to me. Google can trip off a cliff.
  • A friend of mine always recommends chrome to me but I ain't about that life since chrome is memory hungry
  • However Chrome is still vastly superior to IE. You simply HAVE to concede that. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You're joking right.... Don't think anyone here will conceed anything about Google is better... Lol.. I've always used everything else for except Chrome till recently. I just assumed it was junk. It's actually pretty good and a whole lot better than IE. I do have hopes for Spartan though.. But ain't holding my breath. Cry me a river then build a bridge and get over it
  • There's need to be more people like you on this site. Way to be non childish about that. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Nope. Chrome is slow and sloppy. IE is much much better.
  • By your name, I guess there is nothing I can say against that. I love Microsoft but IE has been and still is terrible. Chrome ftw until Spartan comes out. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Wahahah! Who died and made you Chris Rock? You can do standup comedy man, cause u funny as hell. You simply HAVE to concede that. IE is the only way to go.
  • Next up, google apps for Windows
  • I think Microsoft prefers that people move to their apps even on Android. So I don't expect to see Hangouts or Google+ any time soon on my Lumia.
  • It has to start somewhere. And maybe this is the point of return.
  • How about you give something back, Google?
  • Mhmm
  • I actually have that janky scroll start lag on IE on windows phone. Are we actually going to get an improvement here?
  • Maybe its your phone and not IE?
  • I had that on the last Dev Preview on my 8X. Reset the device and it's gone. I also have a whole lot more free space so that could be part of it.
  • This-Is-Spartan!
  • Too soon.
  • Can we lock em out of that API please?!
  • Chrome is one of the most used browsers in the world. Even if they could be locked out of an OPEN STANDARD, which they can't be, it'd be a detriment to the web as a whole and IE.
  • Fun fact: Internet Explorer IS the most used browser in the world. Plus, we could always pull a Google and make it somehow incompatible with Google devices through code.
  • Only on desktops and laptops. With the rise of mobile, the importance of IE is declining. Even if it continues to be the most used, that doesn't mean it'd be a majorioty of users. Also, you can't make a W3C standard incompatible with a browser. 
  • Cool now how about google makes it so anything Gmail, etc actually works on any windows device. It is like they de-optimized everything. If Microsoft did half the shit google and apple do for locking a consumer to am ecosystem with zero support on another it would be in the world courts.
  • Ooh that must burn to acknowledge their efforts well was just futile :P.
  • If Microsoft was smart, they demanded Google Apps for Windows Phone in exchange for their help. It's ridiculous that they're still shutting out the platform, especially when there are no good alternative for things like Google+ and Hangouts.
  • Microsodft submitted them as standards, they can't demsnd anything.
  • You got the info from Engadget and also duplicated their dubious interpretation. You should have read the Ars story on this. It had nothing to do with scrolling in non touch environments, and has a lot more than scrolling to offer touch environments.
    I expect erroneous reporting from Engadget, but Windows Central should really know better.
  • A feather in the hat indeed.
  • The ignorant comments from people about Pointer Events is maddening. As far as I know, Pointer Events was standardized as a replacement for Apple's Touch Events to eliminate its 100 ms required delay between taps as well as to allow input from fingers, pens or any other pointing device. Initially Google, Microsoft and Mozilla had helped in the standardization process but later in a blog post Google said they were holding off on Pointer Events because Apple, apparently a huge decider of the future of web to them, had no plans to implement Pointer Events which is of course because of the fact that they don't have any product that uses both Mouse and Touch as input. In a way they might have been trying to undercut Microsoft's vision of pointing input where the web accepted and abstracted any major form of input. Now it is really not good when two of the major web browsers, Google Chrome and Apple Safari don't implement a standard. The developers have to separately code for different web browsers because of which the standard will not be widely supported and its standardization will be of no use. Google's next reason for not supporting Pointer Events was that apparently in the future we will all be using touch as the major form of web interaction... according to them. So this is a great news. In a way this validates Microsoft's efforts with Windows 8, perhaps the only major desktop OS at the time to support both mouse and touch at the time.
    This article seems somewhat misleading though. Touch Events was not Google's API, it was Apple's. Google only tried to improve it to make it competent enough with Pointer Events. Now the story about how Apple's Touch Events was standardized is really interesting too which can be a fun read. In a nutshell, the developer of the API was not involved in the standardisation. They were actually the detractors in standardizing their own API. And it's no surprise they are currently not talking anything about implementing Pointer Events since they have nothing to gain from making it easier to for hybrid devices to browse the web. It will be interesting to watch their next move since with this news three major web browsers, Firefox, IE and Chrome have now plans to implement the superior Pointer Events.
  • Apple desktops do not use touch as a standard (although you can buy it third-party if you really have a craving for it). You can use a built-in touchpad on Macbooks and purchase separate external ones, though, for Mac Mini, Mac Pro, etc. Those come with interesting gesture support and clean design. At the same time, you can switch between mouse and touchpad. So, is that different from Microsoft touch tech? Does not sound like it, except if touchscreens themselves are a cause for latency.
  • Microsoft should block it like Google does with all of their products on WP
  • They can't and shouldn't.
  • Agree with
  • exactly. give em a taste of their own medicine. this time microsoft should be the one giving the punches instead of receiving them. for once.
  • Is this related to the smooth scrolling option in internet explorer?
  • I'm contented with IE @Windows 10 TP
  • You're welcome google. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Maybe a place for MS to say "hands off! Tit for tat - release some WP apps, and you can use our superior (and soon to be standard) api"...? ;-)
  • The W3C accepted it as a standard.
  • Baap baap hota h akhir
  • We should get YouTube in exchange. Even if we don't I could care less since MyTube and MetroTube have done and continue to do a great job at providing it for us.
  • Are you familiar with the "war" between Microsoft and Google? Google only provides a limited range of API's for the Windows Phone and Modern platforms, keeping us in the dark on certain features available to other platforms. Due to this the news is especially irritating, but also funny.
  • all i can say is BOW DOWN BIATCH! BOW DOWN! LOL!!
  • Now, MSFT should make them PAY! charge royalties for the api.  Just like the interaction / click via icon mechanism, google has to pay microsoft money everytime they sell  a device, they have to pay microsoft, now charge them for this too. MAKE EM BLEEEEED! LOL
  • "Make 'em bleeeed!" Alien Shooter Reference? Yeah, MSFT has the uppoer-hand.
  • They can't charge for it.
  • So, my first question I thought of when I read the headline has yet to be answered: Will Google have to pay Microsoft royalties for using the API?
  • It's not an API. It's a standard Microsoft proposed which was adopted by Firefox/Mozilla and opposed by Google/Apple. So no, there added no royalties involved
  • Pointer events had nothing to do with scrolling.
  • who use that shit!.... the smoothest web browsing with IE.....and soon with Spartan....maybe as a developer I sometime use F12 in IE and Firebug in FF.... we do not need you Scroogle...
  • +1
  • Microsoft should remove chrome from Windows to give google a slap on their face kike how google isn't releasing thiers on windows phone.
  • No because people that really use chrome might see effected!
    While I use Mozilla, I wouldn't care much, but for others!
    And would make people furious and they would respond by leaving Windows (MSFT) and being turned to Macs!
    Though in this country (Nicaragua) where I am temporary living, people wouldn't have the money to make a change!
    Not here!
  • Don't be stupid a lawsuit would be filled instantly. Also the EU would fine the hell out of ms.
  • Why negatively affect users?
  • Ok ... This is what they should do .. Make a small "virus" affecting all old win7 n below ... Which would simply stop access to ( then we would see what google can do ...
    If this were to happen google would be on its knees in matter of months
  • Once again, you're negatively affecting users. 
  • Chrome is really good:) so that's nice
  • Great, so now all the experts, tech gurus and media can go on with there life have a better experience with W8 on there Apple machine?
  • Ok! The reason for the whole article is to: Make the point that Microsoft built the solution to smooth scrolling on Android and that even though the people nigh not know about this, they are running Microsoft on their phones! That's the: "Why this article"
  • Behind all this, is a disaster from Google. They will do what they always do. They will try to find an error or a clue to leading virus then talk to the media.
  • Isn't it great when a software company licences their software even to their competitor.
  • Except for the fact that it's just a standard not an api.
  • Oh and Google is evil.
  • Old news pal
  • So I will finally get my sixty fps scrolling on chrome? Nice try google,I won't buy into your botnet
  • No.
    Engadget misunderstood.
    And Windows Central misunderstood going off of Engadget's misunderstanding.
    It's not what they think it is.
  • well? what'cha waitin on? enlighten us then...
  • Can't​ we all just get along?! ​
  • Just die, evil.
  • Lol Posted from my HTC desire 816
  • To be honest, I always found scrolling on Chrome to be better than IE.
  • Generally, I dislike Google about as much as I dislike Facebook.
  •    This has really got to be pissing Google of.First, the news about Microsoft services being offered on Android smartphones and tablets and now this.
  • What?!? Sue those google frackers!!
  • Stop using Chrome. Problem solved.