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Chrome OS On Target For A New User “Material Design” Like Style Called Project Athena

July 18, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

Google apparently isn’t limiting the far reaches of material design to just Android and the makeover that it will get once they release Android L later this fall. It appears that they’re experimenting with applying that same set of design guidelines and style to Chrome OS as well, and will be referring to the project in house as Project Athena. Fran§ois Beaufort shared an image today that shows off what the beginnings of this design for Chrome OS looks like, although at the time it isn’t known whether they will officially bring this new look to Chrome OS devices. It also isn’t detailed whether or not it will be the new look for all Chrome OS devices or just future ones if they actually end up releasing it out of an experimental state.

The image shows off a very early stage look at a screenshot from a Chrome OS device running the Project Athena design within it, and we can see that the windows appear in a card style stack similar to the way Android L lays out the recent apps list when users hit their recent apps button. This is just a first draft of what the Chromium OS team is working on currently, so if the design ends up being implemented into Chrome OS down the road there is a good chance that it will still look fairly different with more elements than we see here. This is pretty basic, and is just a “collection of windows with some simple window management” as put by Beaufort.

It’s clear that they are keen on bringing a new kind of user experience to consumers who own Chrome OS devices, and why shouldn’t they breathe some new life into the design of Chrome OS? It’s looked virtually the same since Chrome OS devices launched. If you’re interested in checking out Project Athena for yourself and want to follow along with the work in progress from the Chromium OS team as they move through different stages, you can do so by checking out the chromium source code and compiling the convenient “athena_main” target with ninja -C out/Release athena_main. Beaufort provides a link to the Chromium source code in his G+ post about this new user experience design if you wanted to give it a look.

Project Athena