A new Chrome OS Commit is pointing to the new Google Sans coming to Chrome OS in the near future. The new font is one that Google has been rolling out to a wide range of their apps and sites over the course of the past few months and is seemingly tied closely to the whole Material Design makeover that the company has been doing at the same time.
The font isn’t a far cry from the standard Google font but is a thinner version and frankly, fits Material Design exceptionally well.
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Based on a new Chrome OS commit in the Chromium Gerrit, and further support from Chrome OS evangelist François Beaufort, Android App Shortcut support is coming to the platform and likely soon. The commit points to right-click support for Android apps in the platform to allow for users to access the app shortcuts for apps that support the feature.
For those who may not know, Android app shortcuts allow you to get to a quick action within an app simply by long tapping it on your Android phone or tablet. The feature became available in Android Nougat 7.1 but really didn’t start to gain traction until Oreo was released last year.
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Two new commits in the Chrome OS Gerrit suggest that the Nearby Connections API that is currently in Android is going to be coming to the platform. The first commit points to the actual import of the Nearby API code into the Chrome OS platform while the second commit more clearly outlines the need for classes within the platform code structure to support Nearby.
Right now the Nearby API is pretty limited in functionality on Android. The idea long term is to allow for devices near each other to quickly share information or, through beacons, get information about a location or event that you happen to be near. Rarely does it get used these days but Google is continue to develop the API, it is up to version 2.0 now, and developers are slowly beginning to implement it.
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A new comment and code commit found in the Chrome OS Gerrit suggests that a merger of Google Assistant and the native notification are of the platform are to be merged. The merging is aimed to make the notification the one area where you interact with all your notifications and Assistant and could be paving the way for a broader Google Assistant rollout in the platform.
Today, Google Assistant is only available on the Google Pixelbook and has both a dedicated button to access (although it can be configured to respond to “Hey Google”) and a dedicate area where it pops up when accessed. There is a screenshot after the break for those that don’t have a Pixelbook.
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If you are running Chrome 67 on your Chromebook, there is now a flag available to you that will allow you to enable the still under construction new wallpaper picker. The new picker replaces the old style picker which has been in the platform since, well, forever. It brings a refreshed, Material Design look to the picker and eventually will marry up with the backdrop wallpaper changer that is found in Chromecast.
That’s where the under construction part comes into the equation. Right now there is a commit in the Chrome OS Gerrit that points to a new wallpaper that is enabled by default and that it will marry up with Chromecast. The idea is that your Chromecast and your Chromebook will have the same look and feel and will be drawing from the same service in the background to give you your wallpaper options.
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A new Chrome OS commit in the Chromium Gerrit suggests that Android-like swipe actions could be making their way to the platform in the near future. The commit calls for “scrolling and gesture fling events should follow the same curve used by android in order to have a smoother and more fluid experience” which should make system level gestures more accessible and more natural for Android users. In will feel and function the same on a Chromebook as it does a phone is the general idea.
These new gestures would be enabled when the Chromebook is in tablet mode when they make their way to the platform. They also appear to be system level changes so these gestures would work across Chrome OS, not just in the browser. In theory at least.
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The alchemy melding of Chrome OS and Android show no real signs of letting up and the latest example that is in the Chrome OS Canary Channel may be one of the most useful yet. In the Canary Channel, when you open up the Files app to view files, you will now also see Android app related files with an appropriate flag enabled. It means, for the first time, you can actually see the files associated with Android apps on your Chromebook all in one place.
The flag is -show-android-files-in-files-app and right now, it is only in the Canary Channel. That means, roughly, that it is based in Chrome 69 which isn’t due out until September 11th of this year. In other words, we’ve got a ways to go but the fact it is there is great news. If you want to read the code commit, you can do that here.
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