Google has put quite a bit of work into Virtual Desks for Chromebooks and it seems they are keen in making sure you know all about it. An upcoming addition internally being referred to as the ‘Bento Bar’ – first spotted by Android Police – looks to be bringing the Virtual Desk interface more inline with the way users are accustomed to leveraging something like the shelf on their Chromebooks. For most of us, the shelf is always visible and ready to click at a moment’s notice. This new ‘Bento Bar’ wants to put a similar UI in place at the top of the screen when you have Virtual Desks open.
As you can see from the video above, this new interface puts a lot of focus on Virtual Desks and I’m not hating it. The down-arrow on the right takes you to the overview we’re all used to while the 3-dot menu allows you to hide the ‘Bento Bar’ or leave it as always-on.
While I wouldn’t always want that bar up top taking up precious screen real estate all the time, for those times when I’m really bouncing back and forth between desks, this could be a big time saver. Instead of gestures or keyboard shortcuts, you can simply click the desk you need to get to right from wherever you are working. Again, for general use, I’ll likely keep this hidden once it arrives unless I’m getting into some heavy multitasking.
Speaking of arrival, this feature isn’t exactly around the corner and you can’t just enable the flag for it at this point, either. We had to make a few modifications to a Chromebook here in the office that I’m not really comfortable telling anyone how to do as it severely inhibits the built-in safety measures that make your Chromebook so secure. We’ll likely see a more-standard feature flag for this soon, so be on the lookout for that if a persistent Virtual Desk toolbar sounds like your sort of thing. We’ll update as we learn more about a timeline.