Currently, Chromebooks can only open one instance of the inbuilt Media app at a time. This means that if you open an image from your Files app via local or external storage, it will launch in the Media app, and opening subsequent images will replace the former in the same space for viewing.
For anyone who is even slightly a power user (or a regular user, in my opinion) this setup is terrible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to place several images on the screen at once to either compare them or make decisions, and couldn’t because it would constantly update which image I was viewing in the same window. Instead, I had to go back and double-click the previous image once more to open it and yes, it’s obnoxious.
On Chrome OS Canary right now, Google has implemented the ability to run multiple instances of the Media app simultaneously. I happened upon this as a Chromium Repository commit a few days ago, but I can’t locate it anymore. However, after opening an image, I can finally open as many others as I wish and snap or stack the windows they appear in! I can also right-click the shelf icon for the Gallery app and select ‘New Window’. if I want to open a clean instance of it to hand-pick an image – hurrah!
It would be really quite nice if the Chrome OS development team decided to show the Gallery/Media app in the Chromebook launcher instead of it dynamically and magically appearing only when the appropriate file type is launched. The same goes for its inbuilt PDF reader (which the Media app will soon handle!), the music player, and more.
Luckily, anyone who wants these tools out in the open can right-click them and select ‘Pin to shelf’ once they’re open, giving them faster access to them. With that said, these are pretty useless on their own – instead of showing your full gallery of local images or music, each hidden app only acts as a place to pick a file type they’re compatible with and then they present it to you.
Yep, simple. I think Google has an opportunity to make these apps more useful or slightly more powerful without alienating their audience, but then they stand to lose Google Photos users (depending on who you ask) to a local Photos app, for example. The best solution would be to build Photos into the Files system web app they’re developing or even force the Google Photos PWA to launch media for viewing instead of a local app!
When this rolls out, you should be able to place multiple images, PDFs (When the Media app takes over PDFs in the near future), and more side by side for whatever purposes you may have. Comparison and contrast, verifying and cross-checking data between two static PDFs, marking up multiple screenshots at once (you’re a mad man!), and so on should feel more natural and on par with other operating systems. Quite honestly, I’m not sure why this wasn’t a thing before since Chrome OS is based on Linux and Linux has done this since forever.