Chrome OS 56 has just been released to the developer channel and along with bringing Android apps to a few new Chromebooks, it also brings along a few interface tweaks which introduce a bit more Material Design to Chrome OS…

First spotted by ChromeUnboxed, Chrome OS 56 brings tweaks to the app shelf, menu, and setup splash screen which follow Google’s own Material Design guidelines a bit more closely.

(To try this for yourself you just need to swap to the developer channel. To do so, open the settings menu, then click About Chrome OS, More info, Change channel, then select the developer channel. The Chromebook will automatically download the update and prompt you to reboot to finish the installation.)

With the app shelf, Chrome OS gets a new dot to indicate an open app and some tweaks to the colors on the clock, notifications, and “app drawer” button. The new look is certainly cleaner than Google’s previous implementation, but perhaps a bit less obvious at first glance.


The “quick settings” menu gets a quite a few big tweaks as well. The first obvious change is the way the menu is organized, now showing the settings shortcut, battery percentage, and other shortcuts in a new layout. The volume slider also gets a Material look and all of the icons are replaced with new flatter versions. In the specific settings, options like WiFi and Bluetooth get clearer on/off options which closely resemble Android’s settings menu.

Lastly, the Chrome OS setup splash screen gets a redesign which we’ve actually seen in the past couple of developer channel releases. Nothing has changed in terms of functionality, there’s just a clear Material Design-inspired facelift to the entire interface.


It’s unclear when these changes will release in the stable channel of Chrome OS, but we’ll let you know as soon as we see them popping up on our Chromebooks.

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Ben Schoon

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