It looks like Google is still committed to developing Chrome OS in parallel with Android. Not only that; the latest Chrome OS dev channel update introduces a revamped user interface that adds window management, a Windows 7-style taskbar, and an iOS-like app grid, making the operating system better-looking and more capable than ever.
The folks at Google Operating System have posted a few screenshots showing the new UI and window manager, which is called Aura. You can see even more images over at TechCrunch. According to Google's design document, Aura is designed to deliver "a new desktop window manager and shell environment with modern capabilities." It's meant to have "rich visuals, large-scale animated transitions and effects that can be produced only with the assistance of hardware acceleration."
That's quite a departure from the status quo. Right now, Chrome OS looks essentially like a single, maximized Chrome browser window, with a system clock, a battery charge icon, and a network status indicator tacked on at the top right. I'm guessing the new UI doesn't change the operating system's strict reliance on web apps over native software, but still—the more familiar look and feel could make Chromebooks more appealing.
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