Google Readying A Touch-Enabled Chrome OS Build For Chromebooks And Other Devices

Chrome OS Touch

Google did not have touch input in mind when it developed Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system that would serve as the foundation for its Chromebook initiative. Instead, Google was preoccupied with the cloud. Nevertheless, Google's hardware partners came out with touch-capable Chromebooks anyway, and now the Chrome OS team is tooling around with a touch-friendly version of the launcher for Chrome Canary (experimental version).

While this is still in the experimental phase, it seems like a forgone conclusion that Chrome OS will be upgraded with a touch-friendly launcher in the near future. The Chrome OS team uploaded a short demonstration of the Chrome OS launcher in action. It is pretty rudimentary at this early stage, as one of the commenters points out, but that is to be expected for what could essentially be considered an alpha build.

Have a look:

In the video above you can see a redesigned desktop with an app drawer and search bar that are similar to the ones found in Android. These sit at the top of the task bar so as not to interfere with keyboard and trackpad controls. However, for those who are using a touchscreen, they will be able to tap on the Google search box or swipe up to open the app drawer. In addition, the current build shows five suggested apps docked at the bottom for quick access.

Little by little, Google has been making Chrome OS more friendly for touchscreens. Last year, for example, Google added a hybrid mode that adjusted the screen layout with better spacing for tapping on items. However, this would mark the biggest change so far that is focused on touch controls.

If you are curious about this new functionality, you can give kick the tires in the Canary channel. Bear in mind that experimental features can be buggy, so it is probably best to avoid installing this on a Chromebook that you depend on for daily use.