For nearly a year now, Google has been working to bring a Chromecast-like Ambient Mode to Chrome OS to act as something of a screensaver for the lock screen. With the latest Chrome OS Dev channel update, the Ambient Mode now has a clock and info about the weather.

Ambient Mode is still a work in progress on Chrome OS, and hasn’t been rolled out to everyday Chromebook users. To access it, you currently need to enable a flag on the chrome://flags page.

Enable Ambient Mode

Enable Ambient Mode to show an enhanced lock screen with more functions — Chrome OS

#enable-ambient-mode

As spotted by the folks at Chrome Unboxed, Ambient Mode has been given an upgrade to make the Chrome OS screensaver feel a lot more like a Chromecast or smart display. Instead of simply being a slideshow of Google’s Art Gallery or your Google Photos, as it was before, there’s now a simple clock and a little bit of info about your local weather. Check it out by comparison to the usual display on a Chromecast.

If you don’t have a solid internet connection, you’ll simply be treated to a black lock screen with the same Chromecast-style clock.

While Chrome OS’ Ambient Mode may not necessarily make sense for most Chromebooks, as it’s a normal habit to shut a laptop when walking away, it’s important to remember that Chrome OS comes in other form factors like Chromeboxes and Chromebases. Until the feature is properly launched, it’s hard to say for sure what purpose Google intends for Ambient Mode to serve and on which devices.

In the meantime, what other smart display like features would you like to see Chrome OS’s Ambient Mode pick up before it launches? Let us know down in the comments.

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