Google's Chrome OS has been updated with a new shelf desktop layout on the experimental Canary channel earlier this week, the company's Chromium "evangelist" François Beaufort announced on Friday. The revamped user interface that can be seen above repositions app icons from the bottom-left corner to the center of the bottom tray and also makes the icons denser, resulting in a more tighter strip of tools which may allow some users to launch apps more quickly.
The newly introduced shelf layout only has a single sorting behavior wherein it lists active apps on the right and pinned (but inactive) ones on the left. As is the case with the vast majority of Chrome OS additions launched through the Canary channel of the operating system, the revamped UI isn't enabled by default and must be activated manually. To do so, open the Chrome browser and paste the flag address "chrome://flags/#shelf-new-ui" into its URL bar. After the feature has been enabled, restart Chrome and you'll be able to use the new interface. Google has yet to attach any launch window to the functionality, making it unclear when users can expect to see the shelf layout hit the stable channel. In the meantime, some problems are to be expected given how this is still a highly experimental redesign, though no widespread issues have yet been identified by Google.
The main drawback of the new look is that it likely won't work well for people who have a large number of apps pinned to their Chrome OS shelf, though Google is likely to provide users with the option of switching between the two layouts once the new one becomes available in stable versions of the operating system. While the tech giant remains fully committed to the development of its desktop ecosystem, one recent report indicated the mysterious Fuchsia OS may eventually replace both Chrome OS and Android.