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Google gives Chrome OS a better browser UI for tablets, here’s a quick look

Google’s Chrome OS has long supported the ability to switch between a laptop mode and a tablet mode, but now that the tablet form factor is being pushed a bit hardware, the company is making some optimizations. Debuting alongside the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet, Google is giving Chrome OS a better tablet UI for the browser.

Enhancements in the past for tablet mode on a Chromebook or Chrome OS tablet have been pretty limited. There’s a custom homescreen design, some revised buttons, and most recently Google added a gesture-based UI too. However, none of these helped the biggest problem.

Using a desktop browser on a touchscreen tablet is a nightmare.

With the debut of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet, Google is giving the Chrome OS browser UI a redesign for tablets. When you undock the tablet from its keyboard dock, the tab panel along the top of the browser disappears. In exchange, Google adds a tab button which brings down a new panel to show thumbnails of each active tab. It looks really nice!

Beyond that, Google also makes some of the buttons bigger, ensures the browser is fullscreen, and makes the entire top bar just a bit easier for a touchscreen. It’s not perfect — if you have a lot of extensions, for example, they’ll dominate the screen — but Google has clearly put a fair bit of thought into this, and the end result is pretty good!

Google says that this new UI is debuting on the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet, but we can expect it to arrive on more products over time.

I still think Google has a ton of work to do to make Chrome OS a better tablet experience, but this is a huge step in the right direction.

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Avatar for Ben Schoon Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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