Chrome OS Adding Polish. Zip Files, Boot Up, And "Addictive" Games Being Debated

Since Chrome OS is an open source project (well okay, technically, Chromium OS is), it’s fun to take a look at the Google Code page for it from time to time to see what progress is being made. Most of it is tech-speak-heavy, but every now and again they throw in a nice little mock-up of some new features/functionalities/designs.

Tonight, we got a tip about how Google is envisioning Chrome OS to look these days. As you can see from the first image below, the design has been simplified quite a bit. While it’s still basically just Chrome (the browser), a lot of the unnecessary clutter we saw early on has been removed. As you can also see from the image, you’ll be able to browse without being logged in to a Google account.

Based on the images below, Chrome OS definitely seems to be progressing nicely. When we last looked in May, the mock-ups for the OS looked great, but there was still a lot of work to be done on the OS itself. From the looks of things today, that work is certainly getting done. Still, don’t expect to see Chrome OS on actual systems anytime before the Fall.

More substantial seems to be a new side tabs bar option. This replaces the tabs currently found at the top of Chromium OS (and Chrome). Also in this sidebar is time, battery, and WiFi indicators (normally at the top of Chromium OS, as well). And there appears to be a little smiley icon, perhaps indicating some sort of message? This icon is found all over Chromium OS these days.

Here’s the look of the options page:

Going back to logging in to a Google account, this is what the latest ideas for the log-in screen for Chrome OS look like.

Here’s the latest look of notification pop-ups in Chromium OS:

And here’s the Chromium OS content browser:

A few other notes of interest:

  • Google is clearly testing Chromium OS pretty heavily internally at this point on machines known only as “Dogfood Device.”
  • The unzipping of zip files seems to be a hot topic of discussion. Currently, this functionality isn’t in Chromium OS, but a number of people both inside and outside of Google are saying it’s a necessity for the OS.
  • Chrome OS will feature both screen savers and a screen locker (to lock down your system when you walk away).
  • Here’s what the current boot-up process is like:

1. Black screen with a big cursor
2. Flash followed by Black screen with the small cursor [correct VGA mode has been set]
3. Blue box appears in the middle of the screen with Chrome OS but there is a cursor at the top left
4. Screen goes black for a split second
5. Background screen flashes with an image
6. Login box flies in from the bottom
7. User logs in and the login box just vanishes
8. Its replaced by the background screen
9. Chrome slides in from the right

  • A big issue Google has been thinking about for a long time is “addictive” offline games that people can play with Chrome OS machines. Initial ideas included: Solitaire, Poker, Tower Defense, Color flood game, Minesweeper-style, Suduko, Bejewled-style. “What do you do when you’re bored and/or brain dead? Play games,” one Chromium contributer wrote back in August of last year. Work continues on this.

[thanks Alberto]