Last month we learned Google was developing a new version of Chrome OS codenamed Athena. Now the company is offering a first look at the updated operating system, and it looks like a huge change from the version of Chrome OS we know today.
What we get is a very early first draft, so keep in mind that the final version is sure to be way more polished. The redesigned version of Chrome OS still looks pretty cool though, offering a new card stack UI similar to the current Chrome app for Android or the recent apps menu introduced with Android L. Google’s François Beaufort describes the new design as a “collection of windows with some simple window management,” adding that it’s a “new kind of user experience” entirely.
There’s also a new navigation bar, which appears to be pinned to the bottom of the screen. The top half offers a simple search bar, while the bottom shows a row or popular apps for quick access. Again we assume the final version will look a lot more refined, with Google swapping out these mono-colored squares for detailed icons.
Earlier reports suggested Athena would introduce a touch-friendly version of Chrome OS, and we definitely see how this design might lend itself to touch controls. Just like in Android’s multi-tasking view, it would be easy to scroll through this stack of apps with an up or down gesture or close specific windows by swiping them off to the side. Overall Athena is starting to look a lot like Android, calling into question Google’s claims that it has no plans to merge its two operating systems.