The Chrome OS crosh terminal, or Chrome OS shell, is a command shell environment for Google’s operating system that most resembles Windows CMD. It allows users to run several commands that directly communicate with the core of the OS. Since it’s quite extensive and not generally for the average user, I won’t exactly what it is in detail here. Beebom has a full list of 40 useful crosh terminal commands on its website if you’re interested in learning more, but several of the most common ones – like testing your device’s memory and battery or starting and stopping the Linux terminal by force – can now be done directly via an app or interface option in Chrome OS. Today, we’ll be discussing something more directly related to the app itself and not so much its operation.
By enabling a new developer flag on Chrome OS Canary, the crosh terminal now joins other built-in apps in becoming SWAs – or system web apps. These special apps are basically progressive web apps that are able to operate as a part of the system and work offline. They don’t feel separate, per se, and there’s really no need to pull them up by typing in a website URL. Generally, the crosh terminal is pulled up by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T”, and it appears as a Chrome tab in the web browser. With this new flag, it’s now opening in its own window as a part of Chrome OS – not the browser.
Crosh System Web App#crosh-swa
When enabled, crosh (Chrome OS Shell) will run as a tabbed System Web App rather than a normal browser tab. – Chrome OS
Additionally, the app’s iconography has been updated to match that of others that have recently taken on a more mature color scheme. While it may not be for everyone, and while I definitely don’t understand Google’s approach to color here, the icon looks a lot better than the basic black and white icon that it previously had. Because it’s so small in the screenshot above, I’ve recreated it in my art software and you can check it out below.
Most of the previously reworked icons have taken on a teal and dark grey color, so it’s interesting to see Google use yellow and red here. I’m definitely not a fan of it specifically, but I am a fan of how it better fits in with everything else in Chrome OS now. These new icons are meant to work with your Chromebook’s new light and dark themes, so as they roll out, they will look less jarring against a dark grey or white shelf or launcher background. What do you think about the crosh terminal becoming a system web application? What do you think of its new iconography? Let’s discuss in the comments. Is there another app that you’d like to see updated next?