I remember a point in time when I would write about Virtual Desks on Chrome OS with painful regularity. I was insanely excited about this feature coming to Chromebooks and tracked every little change and detail until it was rolled-out in fullness in March of this year. Since that time, there’s not been a whole lot of development on this highly-useful feature apart from the ability to rename your desks and, honestly, I’m OK with that. The feature has been so solid and great to use that it has become a regular part of my daily workflow and one I have a hard time imagining living without.
It looks like a solid upgrade will be coming to Virtual Desks via a small-but-helpful change for people that like to use these desks as a legitimate productivity tool. According to this commit from the Chromium Repositories, Virtual Desks are getting an upgrade in the speed department that will allow quick moves between all four desks to happen with much higher rates of speed.
desks: Allow multiple keyboard press to switch desks quickly.
Second CL to allow chaining keyboard shortcuts.
Follow up to crrev.com/c/2354798 which allows RootWindowDeskSwitch to handle more than two screenshots. This CL fills it out by handling taking third and fourth screenshots and placing them on the animation layer to get a nice smooth continuous animation. Tests in a follow up.via the Chromium Gerrit
As it stands right now, if you use the keyboard shortcut to move through your open desks ( SEARCH + [ or ] ), you’ll notice you can only move to the next desk once the desk you just jumped to slides fully into view. Hit that shortcut key before the animation finishes and nothing happens. What this means is jumping from desk 1 to desk 4 can take a few seconds at best and a tad longer at worst.
If, like me, you use Virtual Desks on a regular basis, this can add up to a lot of wasted time moving through your open desks. I tend to put the same stuff on my desks every day, so I always know that my music player and related media is always on my 4th desk, for instance, and moving to that desk from my 1st desk (where my primary stuff lives) takes a second or two no matter how I go about doing it. Not a huge headache, but I can easily see where quicker transitions could go a long way.
This upcoming change should allow users to move from desk to desk with much less time between animations, meaning if you are on desk 1 and need to skip right to desk 4, you can hit that keyboard shortcut 3 times in succession and land right on the desk you need without waiting for animations to load each time. For users that are invested in using Virtual Desks on their Chromebook, this tiny change could go a long way towards saving us all quite a bit of time. We’ll be on the lookout for this change to be merged and will give it a try in the Canary Channel as soon as we see it arrive.