Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge:
There are sharper edges, tweaked colors, altered animations, and so on. You’d definitely notice it if they just popped up on you one day, but you’ll still feel totally at home.
Alongside the design changes, Chrome OS is also getting a slightly altered design meant for use on touchscreen Chromebooks. It’s called Chrome OS’ “hybrid mode,” and it basically just means that the screen layout is sized to work with either your finger or a mouse.
Here’s a screenshot by Google, summarising th re-design. A few observations:
- The icons for maximise, and close are visually centred but the one for minimise looks like an underscore (instead of a dash). It should’ve been centred but I’m sure the touchable space around the three are the same. The lack of visual alignment throws me off.
- The maximise icon looks like the one Google uses for opening its multi-tasking pane on Android.
- The icon for opening a new tab has a smaller visual canvas than the currently open tabs. It’s the sudden decrease in height that really makes an apparent, in-your-face, difference. The current difference in height between a new tab and opened tabs in Chrome (at least on OS X) is subtler, the rounder edges help offset the difference. (Here’s a side-by-side comparison.)
I’m assuming the smaller, sharper icon ties in with Material Design’s playful ‘everything appears from somewhere’ philosophy. The smaller ‘New tab’ icon would — say — bounce and stretch into a new tab.
- Material Design works for touch screens — larger elements, actions causing animations and ripples all over the place. Like it or not, it’s hard to make the case against Material Design working better for direct manipulation (touch screens) than a pointer-based environment (traditional desktop). Now Google’s created an altered design for touch-screens? Does Chrome OS look different on a laptop with and without a touchscreen?
- The report says Chrome for OS X will adhere to Material Design. Should be a treat…
(Something I realised while putting together the side-by-side comparison: A new tab in Chrome is titled ‘New Tab’ and displays your tabs below the Google search bar. In Safari, it’s called ‘Favourites’ and presents your favourite and most-visited websites. The first thing on Chrome that catches my eye is ‘Google’, with Safari it’s a collection of my websites. Also, Chrome has two search bars that essentially do the same thing. The only difference being, the one below ‘Google’ houses the search-by-voice option.)