ChromeOS has been around for a while, as have touch-enabled Chromebooks but ChromeOS itself has never been optimised for touch. This year we have seen a big push by manufacturers and media surrounding the new 2-in-1 Chromebooks but ChromeOS has still not changed much to take advantage of the new touch displays. This may be set to change soon.
Chromium Evangelist at Google, François Beaufort, has today uploaded a video to YouTube showing off the new launcher that is being trialled in the Canary channel of ChromeOS. The Canary channel has been described as “a bleeding edge, experimental version of Chrome, with the latest features”. These features, once stable usually find their way over to the stable builds of ChromeOS making this new feature a significant step towards Google changing ChromeOS to suit the new devices arriving soon.
As seen in the video we can see a very Pixel Launcher-like launcher for the Chrome apps along with the usual Chrome omnibar and voice search as well. For those running on the Canary builds of Chrome it can be easily viewed by enabling the chrome://flags/#enable-fullscreen-app-list flag and then restarting the device. Once restarted pressing the search key runs the new launcher. Those who like to read the code behind all these changes can review it over at the Chromium Code Reviews.
Hopefully by the time we have more of a selection of touch Chromebooks available here in Australia this will be available for use in the stable channel for all to enjoy. Can you see yourself buying a touch-enabled Chromebook once ChromeOS becomes more touch-friendly? Is this a step in the right direction?