The Chrome OS appeared as simply a full screen Chrome web browser in Chromebooks about a year ago, and now an announcement on the developer channel shows the operating system received its largest visual upgrade yet, which seems to blur the line between OS X and Windows.
Google’s shipped an undisclosed number of Chromebooks that have not exactly created an insatiable buzz, so the Internet giant was due to make the OS more mainstream while still keeping a web-based focus.
The Chrome Releases Blog debuted “Aura” as the new Chrome OS window manager. It gives the platform an actual desktop look, rather than just a web browser, and it adds support for wallpapers, stacked windows, an app launcher akin to Launchpad, and a task manager.
According to Chrome’s engineers, Aura is a cross-platform window manager aimed to provide “a flexible windowing system and shell for Chrome and Chrome OS on a variety of form factors.” The build also features many security and stability improvements.
A screenshot gallery is available below.
Aura is also hardware-accelerated through graphics processing rather than CPU, while the user interface framework for Chrome provides “rich visuals, large-scale animated transitions and effects that can be produced only with the assistance of hardware acceleration.”
The update is now available on the Chrome OS development channel for the Acer AC700 Chromebooks and Samsung Series 5, but the original Cr-48 Chromebook prototype is not eligible for the upgrade.
(Images via the Google Operating System.)
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