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Google testing a new touch-oriented design on Chrome OS

Once upon a time, Chrome OS wasn't the most touch-friendly system. There weren't many touchscreen models of Chromebooks, and there was no real rush to fix how a system designed for a mouse and keyboard wasn't really designed for touchscreen input.

Well, Chrome OS has come a long way since then, and now that touchscreen Chromebooks are becoming more and more popular, thanks in no small part to Android apps jumping to Chromebooks, and Google has been slowly making the system more and more touch-friendly. That change has now spread to a new Chrome desktop, as evidenced in a YouTube video from Chromium evangelist François Beaufort.

The video below shows a new Chrome desktop that's now available in the Chrome OS Canary channel. The new version seems to smoosh the app launcher window onto the bottom of the screen when you tap the Apps button rather than popping it up in a new window. It displays the search bar, complete with an easy-to-tap voice search button, and a small smattering of suggested apps. You drag up on this bar to bring up the full app drawer, which looks very Android-like. The Chrome OS desktop has needed an overhaul for a bit, and while it's still early days, if the app launcher is going to act this much like Android, maybe we'll get another Android feature in icon packs... or maybe that's just the themer in me begging for a bigger canvas.

At any rate, this is a Canary channel feature, so you may not want to try it on a Chromebook you depend on, but if your Chromebook is more of a supplemental device, this might just be for you.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

  • How long is it going to make the Chrome OS and Android one thing?! This is getting really silly...
  • Does it need to be one thing? Just merge the best parts of each and let them stay separate.
  • I'd actually prefer it if they just gave us a ChromeOS phone/tablet/laptop/desktop and ditched Android and the entire "app" economy entirely, but that's probably never going to happen. Think about it though.
    ChromeOS gives you 6+ years of guaranteed OS updates regardless of the device manufacturer, and OS updates happen seamlessly in the background instead of having to wait for 20 minutes while Android "optimizes your apps".
    UI/Apps/Settings sync across devices.
    A device management console already exists.
    If a web service wants to update they simply update server side instead of having to push that update to every device eating up portions of your data cap each month. The advantages just go on and on...
  • ∆∆ This ∆∆ Heck yes, this would be great, and what they're presenting with the interface in this article would be great on a Chrome tablet, say, this coming fall/holiday season.
  • This. This sounds good. Google, do this.
  • Give Chrome OS a tile-based flat-designed Start screen with cycling information, perhaps?
  • No