Google is testing a centered shelf on Chromebooks
Google appears to be testing a centered shelf on Chromebooks, a new Chrome flag has shown. Initially reported by Chrome Story, the shelf moves applications to the center of the screen spanning outwards. It would appear to be a UI optimized primarily for tablets or detachable Chromebooks such as the HP Chromebook X2 or the unidentified cheza. There’s nothing stopping you from using it on a desktop of course, but it looks better suited for a touchscreen device.
As always, we have to keep in mind that this feature is being tested in the Canary version of Chrome OS. That means it’s subject to change, and likely will see a few iterations before it makes its way to a stable release. You can activate the centered shelf at the following Chrome flag URL.
It certainly looks cool, but it’s subject to change and looks to be most practical on a touchscreen device. There appears to be quite a few of those on the horizon, so it makes sense if Google is further optimising for touchscreens. The design also is very reminiscent of Mac OS.
Whether the centered shelf will be the default setting on Chromebooks is yet to be seen. Currently, open applications reside towards the left side like on a Windows computer. You can access a menu in the same place as the Windows button which has more applications, and your small set of system settings is in the bottom right. Now Google appears to be moving those open applications to the center instead and keeping the rest in their place.
It’s also unknown how buggy the feature is. The Canary version is bleeding-edge and is bound to have bugs, so you may run into unexpected behavior when using the new shelf. If you decide to install the Canary version, you do so knowing that there are risks of data loss and strange behavior.
Source: Chrome Story