Google could soon change everything we know about Chrome OS. While the current version of the search giant’s Chromebook operating system takes on a familiar, Windows-inspired design, a new screenshot from the Chrome OS design team suggests that Google is looking to make Chrome OS a unique fusion of desktop and mobile UI experiences.
The screenshot posted by Google’s François Beaufort is from project Athena, a new experiment from the Chromium OS team that aims to switch up the user experience of Chrome OS. The image shows multiple Chrome windows stacked back-to-back, which is reminiscent of the vertical tabs option on Chrome for Android.
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Below the windows rests a toolbar, which has icons for key apps like mail, calendar, video and calculator, as well as a search bar on top. The Athena interface is a clear work-in-progress, with a bare background and colored blocks where app icons should be, but the persistent search bar and stacked Chrome windows found in the screenshot hint at a future version of Chrome OS that aims to deliver mobile-style immediacy to users.
While Google continues to improve the Chrome OS experience with more apps and better offline functionality, the company hasn’t announced any solid plans for a full UI refresh. If you’re interested in following the progress of project Athena, Beaufort has provided the source code.