Android apps are a big deal for Chrome OS, and Google is clearly going all in on the functionality. For now, the functionality is still limited to only a specific collection of devices, but ahead of a wider release, Google has been slowly streamlining the experience.

In the latest Canary release, M54 (via ChromeStory), Google has made some minor tweaks to the design of Chrome OS, starting with the “all apps” icon and the app tray. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the “all apps” icon has switched from the well-known grid icon to a new, very simple, circular icon. Along with that, you’ll also notice that the app tray now hosts two rows of apps rather than just one. This is undoubtedly related to Android apps as it gives users easier access to their more frequently used applications.

Along with these two tweaks, Google has also changed how notifications look in Chrome OS with new notification icons on the notification tray. The cards also have a tweaked design. In bigger news, Google has also added support for background sync for apps such as Gmail. This is definitely a huge benefit for those using the app on a Chromebook as it will no longer need to be open in the background for notifications to sync.

For now these changes are limited to the latest Canary update, although they should make their way to the stable channel over time, especially as more Chromebooks gain access to Android apps.

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Ben Schoon

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