July 15, 2011

ChromeOS Now Supports Multiple Displayed Windows

In the latest build of ChromeOS, version 751.0 for those keeping track, running on a new version of Chrome 14, the operating system has introduced a new windowing feature that lets you put multiple tabs side by side instead of the previous standard where new windows either became tabs in the browser, or went to a new screen altogether. Now, you can take notes on one side of the screen and read email in the other, or run apps on one side while keeping your favorite social network on the same screen. It brings the system even closer to more traditional OS's like Macintosh and Windows, with the exception being you're not exactly dragging windows around a screen in an up/down fashion, only splitting them left versus right.

The feeling of the new windowing effect is more akin to Apple's Coverflow display instead of being reminiscent of spaces. This means no more copying text from one screen, tabbing over to another and pasting, but also no secretly running ESPN in one screen to stay tuned to the game while working on a Google Doc in the front.

Running Multiple Windows on the CR-48 In ChromeOS (Gmail and G+)

The windowing effect comes courtesy of an icon in the top right corner in what's starting to look like a menubar, with the time, WiFi signal, battery status and now a small rectangle. When running multiple windows, you can Maximize to a full screen mode, or Restore to go back to the previous status. The two foreground windows can split screen, divided in the center, which you can pull left or right to give one more or less space. Third windows and beyond get a small sliver on the right, in the order they were opened.

Writing The Blog Post In a Notepad While Checking Gmail on ChromeOS

You can still Alt-Tab between open windows, while hitting the Window button on the keyboard (for the CR-48 at least) toggles between Maximize and Restore, instead of switching windows entirely, as it had before.

The option to have multiple windows in one screen was one that I've been waiting for, since accosting Google's Don Dodge at Google IO about the feature following day two's focus on ChromeOS. For us press people, having one window to take notes and another do post those notes or do some other task is very helpful.

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