The Future Of Chrome: Synced Tabs, Profiles, Native Client, And Chrome OS On ARM

Today at Google I/O there was a fireside chat with a number of Chrome team members. Their goal was simply to answer questions — both from the web and from the audience. Among those, there was a common theme: what’s next?

One question asked each panelist what features they were most excited about going forward? Some answers were general — excitement about pushing HTML and CSS work forward. But other answers were more specific. One member noted how excited he was about expanding the personalization aspects of Chrome. Whereas now you can sync much of your data across the browser on different machines, soon you’ll be able to sync more things that will make the experience more personalized.

He elaborated a bit to say that one of these features is internally called “Profiles”. This feature (which you can already see hints of in builds of Chromium) allows users to have different Chrome features enabled on the same machine based on which Google account they’re logged into.

This means that you’ll be able to have multiple Chrome windows opened side-by-side on the same machine that can have different themes, extensions, etc. All of this personalization will be siloed in that one browser window.

Another feature that team members were excited about was the syncing of tabs. They’re still figuring out exactly how this should work, but the idea is a welcomed one. Essentially, you’ll be able to have a bunch of tabs open on one machine and quickly open those on another as well.

Other features comes soon include GPU acceleration, syncing data from within extensions, and a new tab page.

And then there’s Native Client. A team member noted that this feature would finally be coming later this year. Google has been hinting at this for a while now. And it’s important because it may well be the missing link between native and web apps.

Another question asked about the possibility of Chrome OS working on ARM chips. Work is already well underway to make this a reality, team members said. Right now, they’re focused on the first two Chromebook partners, Samsung and Acer (both of which use Intel chips), but for low-power, thin machines, they’re very much thinking about ARM.

One thing probably not coming anytime soon: a Canary build of Chrome for Linux. They noted that Linux users tend to be more savvy about getting developer builds of Chromium, so they’re just not sure how big of a need this is. Still, they might offer one down the road.