What you need to know
- Google may be working on adding "glanceable" widgets to Chrome OS devices.
- At least a weather tile and a clock widget are apparently in the cards.
- If this feature is implemented, contextual widgets will make Chromebook desktops much more useful.
One of the Pixel phone's most useful features, which displays contextual information on its home screen, appears to be coming to Chromebooks, if a new piece of evidence is any indication.
Google has been spotted developing a "glanceable" widget for the home screen of Chrome OS device, as spotted by 9to5Google (opens in new tab). The evidence was discovered in a Chromium Gerrit, along with a record that shows a glimpse of the feature in question.
Based on code found in the Chromium Gerrit, Google seems to be working on at least two desktop widgets, namely a clock and a weather tile. You'll presumably be able to arrange these widgets in a grid so that they occupy one tile, just like on Android phones. It also looks like the weather tile will take after the weather information that shows up on Chrome OS' screensaver, though some slight modifications in design and layout should be expected in keeping with the larger screens on Chromebooks.
However, the feature's design draft isn't yet visible to the public, making it difficult to predict what Google has up its sleeve regarding these "glanceables."
Currently, you're unable to place anything on a Chromebook's desktop screen, unlike other operating systems, such as Windows and macOS. But if the search giant rolls out the feature, Chromebook desktop screens will finally be useful after being a mere blank space for so long.
The Pixel phone's At a Glance widget lets you see contextual information on your home screen, such as weather data and an upcoming Google Meet call. The feature recently gained new capabilities, such as smart video doorbell previews and earthquake alerts for specific states.
You could imagine a Chrome OS desktop widget picking up similar capabilities. That said, it may take a while before we finally see this feature arrive on many of the best Chromebooks.
Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.
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