The Virtual Desks feature for Chrome OS was a big addition to the everyday user experience that was added over a year ago and only fully completed in March of this year. The developers took the time and care to roll Virtual Desks out in increments and the overall experience with them has been mostly positive across the board. I, for one, use Virtual Desks on a daily basis and I love the ability to sort out my different tasks into separate workspaces when I’m confined to a single monitor setup.
With the added Virtual Desktop persistence that shipped with Chrome OS 83, there’s little I want to see added to the overall feature at this point. For many of you out there, however, I know that you really want this latest feature that we’ve found evidence of in the Chromium Repositories. As I was doing a bit more research on this topic, I also found that Chrome Story had an article up about it as well from a few days ago. So what is it? Desk-specific shelf items.
What is that exactly and why would you care? As it works right now, the shelf on Chrome OS is persistent across all displays and Virtual Desks. If you open up a few apps and those icons are on your shelf, those same icons show up on every Virtual Desk regardless of where that window is actually located. Right now, my Google Play Music window is open on my third Virtual Desk and if I click the icon for it in the tray while on my first Virtual Desk, I’m whisked over to where it exists. This change would make it so the icon for that app (and others in the same scenario) would only appear on the shelf in the Virtual Desk where that app is active. Additionally, pinned apps will remain persistent across all desks and their behavior won’t change.
As an organizational tool, I suppose I could see tons of people wanting this. Again, for my use, I’d rather see all my open windows all the time and be able to quickly get to them by simply clicking the icon. This way, I don’t have to remember exactly where I’ve put everything to get where I need to be at any given moment. Luckily, it seems there will be a toggle to use this feature when it is eventually added to Chrome OS. According to the bug report attached to the repository commit for this effort, it seems this will be a user opt-in change. I really hope that is the case as this isn’t something I think will work well for everyone’s workflow. With this being added only in the past week, don’t expect this to show up for a few weeks at this point. We’ll be keeping an eye on this in the Canary channel waiting for it to arrive and we’ll update when we hear more.