The update to Google's hybrid operating system brings many visual changes and facelifts to key elements of the operating system. Version 61, which is rolling out just days after Chrome 61 for browsers and Android, brings a new app launcher, a revamped login screen, improved window management and tweaks to the settings screen.
The most immediately notable change is the new login screen- which adds some nice blur to the background wallpaper, and changes the shape of the user's profile picture to a circle. Also you can kiss goodbye to the boxes for the user's name and password – now they just appear as text fields amidst the screen.
The next big change is the new app drawer, which definitely takes its cues from another Google product's interface cough Pixel cough.
Swiping up reveals five apps and a search bar, where users can search for local apps and search the web, similarly to Windows 10's search function. Pulling the card upwards reveals the full screen drawer, where users can swipe to find their apps.
This update has, peculiarly, removed the "Ok Google" hotword to launch a search. While this is probably in anticipation of the arrival of the Google Assistant on Chrome OS, it still seems strange to remove the feature altogether.
Another change in this version is the settings app, which has recieved a much-welcome makeover. There are more options in the devices section for how the Chromebook should behave on idle, as well as there being a new profile avatar editor which has more rounded and abstract default pictures. Additionally, the Get Help app has been updated to match the other changes in Chrome OS 61, which is useful for users not too familiar with the operating system. Finally, optimisations have been made to multi-windowed management for touchscreen Chromebooks, which is a welcome addition.
This update seems like a preparatory measure for the upcoming Pixelbook, a flagship laptop that Google are marketing as a potential primary computer for users invested in the Google ecosystem – including Chrome OS. The changes align with the design language Google is pushing across its flagships, and we're excited to see the benefits other Chromebooks recieve from the extra push Google is giving to Chrome OS.
What do you guys think? Do you love Chrome OS, or despise it out of the depths of your heart? Let us know what you think in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.
Thanks to 9to5Google for the screenshot!