ChromeOS gets 'eye-catching' desktop widgets similar to Pixel's At A Glance

ChromeOS gets ‘eye-catching’ desktop widgets similar to Pixel’s At A Glance

Google has begun work on a project to bring “glanceable” widgets to the ChromeOS desktop, which could work as a large-screen version of Pixel’s At A Glance widget.

One of the signature features of the Pixel series of phones is the inclusion of an “At A Glance” widget on the home screen. That space has gotten significantly smarter in the past year and has been given options for grocery delivery, commuter information, and air quality alerts.

Now it looks like Google is preparing to bring at least some of these ambient smarts to Chromebooks. A new code change, posted this week, introduces the concept of “glanceables” to ChromeOS. Conveniently, an earlier ‘prototype’ is also available that gives a more complete picture of what to expect.

Like the Android home screen, ChromeOS will align widgets to a grid, with each “tiny” acting like a tile on the grid. At this point, we only have two examples of what could appear in these desktop widgets: a clock and a weather tile. As you might expect, the weather tile is quite similar to the weather information displayed in ChromeOS’s screensaver feature.

ChromeOS ambient screensaver

Unfortunately, since the feature’s design is private, there’s no sign of Google’s broader intentions for “glanceables” on ChromeOS. Capabilities can range from a full Android-style widget system to an automatic need-to-know ranking, such as a big-screen version of Pixel’s At A Glance.

That aside, what’s most interesting to us is actually the placement of these “uncluttered” widgets. On most desktop/laptop operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu, you can use the actual “desktop” as a place to store things like files, program shortcuts, and more.

ChromeOS has always been the exception, where the “desktop” doesn’t actually exist and only serves to display your current wallpaper. From the code available today, it seems very likely that the new “glanceables” will be the first major use of the ChromeOS desktop.

Since the code for these desktop widgets is just now starting to show up in ChromeOS, we probably won’t see them in action for a few more weeks/months. Of course, as it’s still a work in progress, it’s also very possible that these widgets will never see the light of day.

What do you think about the possibility of ChromeOS getting widgets? What kind of information would you like to show? Let us know in the comments!

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