“Why doesn’t my Chromebook show the date at the bottom right side of the screen like my Windows computer does? Why do I have to click on the clock to see the date?” These are questions I often heard while interacting with customers in the retail space who purchased a Chromebook, and they’re truly legitimate.
Chrome OS has always been an operating system that adapts to the user’s needs. For example, if a monitor is plugged into the device, settings for it will appear in the Display section of the Settings app. Once the monitor is unplugged, those settings will disappear completely along with the area they occupied in the Display section. On other operating systems, upon disconnecting devices, the settings area for them will maintain their position.
In the same way, Google has always buried the date in the quick settings portion of the shelf as opposed to displaying it openly. I think that their logic here has been that it’s not as essential as the time is on a moment to moment basis, but users have long-since complained about its lack of visibility at a glance. Luckily, a new repository shows that Google is testing a ‘scalable status area’ which will show the date and other relevant icons on your shelf without the need to click anything.
Enable Scalable Status Area
Showing important notification icons and date in status area when the screen is sufficiently large.
9to5Google was able to get this working with the aforementioned flag on Chrome Canary, but it only showed the date when their shelf was aligned to the bottom of the screen – not the left or right side. Additionally, the date and ‘important notification icons’ like caps lock, and so on will only show on the shelf if there is sufficient space for them without hindering your app icons’ ability to breathe.
This awesome update should be available via the aforementioned flag on Chrome OS 90 Stable, which should be dropping in April. With Phone Hub dropping for many users today, and Holding Space coming closer to release, the Chrome OS shelf has undergone many drastic transformations recently, and I have a feeling that Google is just getting started. I’m personally looking forward to any changes that make the operating system more palatable and easier to understand for newcomers.