Back last October, Google started letting out its secret plans for ChromeOS on Windows 8, but being as it was part of the developer build of Chrome, not many people saw it. However, from today, Google is rolling out an update to the Chrome browser for Windows which features a new user-interface, allowing users to effectively emulate the ChromeOS experience while retaining Windows compatibility.
Key features are the ability for Chrome windows to ‘snap’ to the left or right of the display, or to take over in full-screen mode, just like native Windows applications. You even get a ChromeOS-style dock with easy access to Google services like Chrome, Gmail, Google Search, Docs and Youtube, all of which you can customise.
There’s also a ChromeOS style app launcher which allows you direct access to any Chrome apps you’ve installed, and just like ChromeOS, all your apps will sync across your Chrome profiles on different devices.
Google has achieved this using a special mode enabled in Windows 8 that allows web browsers set as the default browser to launch in Microsoft’s ‘Metro-style’ environment. You can still install these browser apps via the Windows Store, and they still launch as desktop applications, but once launched, they can take over a fair amount of the normal functionality.
For those who like the idea of a Chromebook, this is especially cool as it allows you to get most of the feel for how ChromeOS works without doing anything more than installing (or updating) Chrome on your Windows PC.
Have you tried the latest Chrome build on Windows? How do you find it?