If there's one thing Chrome
is known for besides speed, it's the browser's minimalist interface. Unlike Firefox, which offers several search engines in their own secondary space, Chrome has a very less-is-more attitude towards the UI. The team has recently published several concept designs its currently working on, one of which could end up being the default on a future browser release.
The first image above is the classic browser mode that Chrome currently uses. Below it, on the left, is what Google is calling Compact mode. The image to the right represents "sidetab" configuration. Officially, the team is considering all four options, but the only advantage listed under classic is "Similarity to Chromium-based browsers." That's not exactly what we'd call a winning endorsement.
If the company opts for Compact mode, it'll fuse the search and address bars into a single field that acts as both a launcher and a switcher. The side-tab mode is a more dramatic step from the norm—by orienting all tabs horizontally tabs can be more easily grouped and navigated. The downside, of course, is that people who don't use a lot of different tabs will end up losing a significant chunk of screen real estate.
The UI options are the most dramatic changes under consideration, but there's a new feature on the way that'll interest anyone who's ever had to juggle multiple Chrome profiles in the same browser. In the future, different users will be able to set up different, discrete profiles in which Person A's synched contacts, bookmarks, and other personal data is not
automatically fused into Person B's profile. The company explains it thusly:
"Allowing different windows to run as different Chrome identities means that a user can have different open windows associated with different Google accounts, and correspondingly different sets of preferences, apps, bookmarks, and so on – all those elements which are bound to a specific user's identity," the company told The Register. "Having multiple profiles in the Chrome browser also makes it easy to browse with separate identities without having to log in as separate users at the operating system level."
The ability to seamlessly sync data anywhere, on any (appropriate) system could be tremendously useful to any number of professionals. We suspect this is the type of customizable option Google will highlight when it finally ships Chromium OS.