Dark Mode System Tray Flag Available in Chrome OS Dev Channel

Chrome OS Dark Theme

Dark mode (or theme) is something that a lot of people love but sadly, to this point, it is not something that has been available in Chrome OS.  That appears to be set to change.  The team over at Chrome Unboxed discovered a new flag in the platforms Dev Channel that allows you to enable a Dark mode on your system tray.

As a reminder, the Chrome OS Dev Channel is currently on Chrome 66 so if this flag stays in place, we should see it hit the Stable channel April.  As a further reminder, the Dev Channel is essentially the Alpha channel for the platform.  That means it will be unstable and you will likely run into bugs.  But, if you are brave or have a spare Chromebook you can run in the Dev Channel, here is how you enable Dark Mode.

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Chrome OS Build Release Schedule for 2018

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

We are only two months into 2018 but it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Chrome OS.  This year is slated to be a busy one with 8 releases of the platform scheduled to happen this calendar year.  One of those, Chrome 64, has already happened but by the time we get to December, we will be rolling out Chrome 71 believe it or not.

The Chromium team has put together a tentative schedule of releases for Chrome OS for 2018.  While the calendar is subject to change due to unforeseen bugs or other issues, last year the team was pretty much on target all year with releases.  It is a reasonable bet that 2018 will follow suite.

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A New Commit Suggests Linux VMs Could Be Coming to Chrome OS

Left Side Ports Detail of The Pixelbook

While Chrome OS is Linux based at heart, it is currently not able to run Linux apps or development tools natively.  There are workarounds out there but they generally require you to put your Chromebook in Developer mode which bypasses many of the security features of the platform – not ideal for the everyday users.

That is what makes a new commit found in the Chrome OS Gerrit so exciting.  The commit suggests that support for Linux VMs (Virtual Machines) could be coming to the platform.  This would allow users to run popular Linux-based apps on their Chromebooks without having to change out of the Stable channel or bypass security features of the platform.

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Second Chrome 66 Build of Chrome OS Lands in The Dev Channel

Google Pixelbook

The second build of Chrome OS based on Chrome 66 has landed in the platform’s Dev channel, just two days after the first build was released.  The new build is version 66.0.3350.3 (Platform version: 10425.0.0) for those keeping score at home and should be available to devices running in what is effectively the Alpha channel for the platform.

Just like the first release of Chrome 66, there were no release notes provided on this update nor any links to logs to see what had changes.  The Chromium team only provided the generic, “This build contains a number of bug fixes, security updates and feature enhancements“.  The lack of release notes however is not uncommon, especially in the Dev Channel.

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First Chrome 66 Build Lands in The Chrome OS Dev Channel

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

For the fourth consecutive week, the Chrome OS Dev Channel has received another new update.  This week however, it is something new.  Chrome 66 has come to the alpha channel in build version 66.0.3344.0 (Platform version: 10403.0.0).

There hasn’t been a massive amount of insight into what is going to be coming in Chrome 66 and the release notes – of which there are none for this update – didn’t shed any light.  It is known that the Symantec Trust Certificates prior to June 1, 2016 will be removed.  It is also expected that split-screen Android mode will be available.  That feature, to this point, has been in the hidden Canary channel of the platform.

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