Overview Mode of Chrome OS Gets Material Design Treatment

Google Play Awards Material Design 7

Material Design has been Google’s signature design language since 2014. It was first unveiled to the public with the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop and has been around ever since. And now this unique design heads to the developer channel of Chrome OS, Google’s Chrome-based operating system. The new release contains a completely redesigned window picker, or ‘overview mode’ as Google likes to call it, and it abides by Google’s Material Design standards.

Material design is an attempt by Google to unify the look and feel of their products around the entire ecosystem, streamlining the design process and giving birth to a bold and comprehensive set of styles without interfering with the usability of the app. The unique design is popular for its flat styling and delivery of snippets of information through card-like motifs, and depth and lighting effects. The Material Design standards are a set of guidelines documented by Google meant to be followed in order to create an app or web-app consistent with Google’s Material Design. All Google Android and Web apps have already been updated to reflect the new design.

As mentioned in a Google+ post by François Beaufort, in the latest update with version 53.0.2785.29 of Dev channel, the material design is enabled by default. The name of individual apps is mentioned on the window, and Google’s Roboto font is used to highlight the text. The new overview mode can be accessed by swiping down the trackpad with three fingers or by pressing F5. The windows can also be switched with the mouse or arrow keys. The user can search through applications now, and the Omnibar lights up with a magnifying glass icon. If the chrome browser is open, the address bar will search for the most recent opened pages, and they can be cycled through by using the arrow keys. The user can also press enter to access the last opened page among the matches.


This new release is the latest update on the implementation of material design to popular products by Google, with Keep for desktop recently receiving the design upgrade treatment. Subtle design changes will help Chrome OS strengthen their position against a market strongly dominated by Microsoft Windows by a large margin, and different Linux distros. The ability to run Android apps inside Chrome OS will also give it a significant boost in the highly competitive market. Although it is not sure if the changes will make it to the public release of Chrome OS, it will most likely arrive soon.