New Facelift for Google Chrome User Interface

11 April 2012
Ben Logan

Ben Logan


Passionate about improving services and experiences for the people that use them.

Google’s browser-based Chrome OS has had a visual revamp that makes it look like a cross between Windows and Apple’s OS X.

The new Aura UI replaces Google’s original single browser window idea by presenting multiple overlapping windows instead, plus a few other features that give it the appearance of a desktop display.

You’ll firstly notice the taskbar (renamed by Google as ‘shelf) – it stretches across the bottom of the screen to provide fast access to a range of web apps and also offers a quick glance at system information such as battery level, network connections, time and date (similar to Windows). This shelf disappears when the browser window is maximised and reappears when you sliding your mouse over it.

Another nifty piece of shortcut functionality, reminiscent of OS X’s Launchpad, is an app and bookmark launcher presented with a grid of icons on the desktop itself.

What makes for a great user experience is that you can detach and re-attach tabs from the browser interface to allow for more freedom to manage multiple windows and switch between them with the shelf. Windows can also now be resized by dragging at any edge.

Google’s statement is that Aura is a “user interface framework for Chrome UI” that offers “rich visuals, large-scale animated transitions and effects that can be produced only with the assistance of hardware acceleration”.

This latest Chrome OS 19 release is being rolled out through the Dev channel and will be available for Samsung and Acer Chromebooks.

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