Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are coming and you can full expect a slew of them by the time we reach the end of 2018. Google, Apple, Microsoft and Firefox have all committed to having support for PWAs, which are web sites that run like mobile apps on your phone or laptop. Now Google has upped their game with Chrome OS and PWAs.
In the Chrome OS Canary Channel, the pre-alpha channel for the platform, you can now install Progressive Web Apps natively so they run just like a Chrome app on your Chromebook. It is great news because it means that more-than-likely, by the end of summer, we will see PWA support natively in the Stable Channel.
Back in January, I posted about a new commit in the Chrome OS Gerrit that pointed to the ability for Android apps to be able to access a USB drive attached to your Chromebook. At the time, it was only a commit and had not shown up in any channel for the platform but that now has changed.
The team over at Chrome Story had discovered a new flag that enables this feature in the Chrome OS Canary Channel. The Canary Channel right now is based on what will be Chrome 68 so we are still several months away from it landing in the Stable Channel – but it appears to be coming.
A new and much improved Keyboard Shortcut Viewer is coming to Chrome OS. In the Chrome OS Canary Channel, which is currently running a pre-alpha build of Chrome 67, the viewer has been radically updated to a Material Design look and feel.
The find comes from long time platform evangelist François Beaufort via his Google+ profile. François is one of the best sources for what is coming in the Canary channel and this is another great example of it.
The touch enablement of Chrome OS continues, as well as the merging of look-and-feel elements between it and Android. The latest example is in the Chrome OS Canary Channel, the pre-alpha builds of the platform, where you will now find the Power menu to look strikingly similar to its Android counterpart.
The new came from long time Chrome OS evangelist François Beaufort who posted about the find on Google+. If you are a fan of Chrome OS, Francois is one you need to follow as he is great at finding these little nuggets, especially in the Canary Channel.
A new commit in the Chrome OS Gerrit points to the floating virtual keyboard being enabled by default when you enter into tablet mode on your compatible Chromebook. The feature leverages existing flags that you can find in the Stable Channel today, but this commit make the default behavior change.
Today, if you go chrome://flags/#enable-floating-virtual-keyboard you can enable the floating virtual keyboard on your Chromebook. Then, when you go into tablet mode, the keyboard can be moved from fixed to floating using the overflow menu (the three vertical dots). You’ll also find several other virtual keyboard flags to play with if you do a search for “virtual keyboard” on the flags page.