It was just last week we reported a new video being added to the ongoing bug tracker development of virtual desks on Chrome OS. Prior to that update, it had been months since we’d seen one of these juicy videos from the Chromium Bug Tracker regarding this much-anticipated new feature.
For review, the virtual desktop feature (which basically gives you up to 4 entire desktop workspaces to switch between for increased productivity) was confirmed to be a work in progress back in November of 2018. After that, we finally saw some real progress in February with not one, but two early video examples of the feature being added to Chrome OS.
After those two early videos, things continued progressing and I continued seeing work being done, but there were no further videos to share until just last week. On April 29th, a new video surfaced, showing much more progress and giving us a clearer understanding of how this new feature will play out on Chromebooks in the near future.
Today, we’re getting not just one video, but two new videos showcasing even more tidbits about how Virtual Desks will function. In the first video, we get to see how some of the transition animation will look, and the sliding nature of this animation lead me to believe that we will in fact get the part of this I want most: a trackpad gesture to fling between desktops. Check it out:
I’ve mentioned before that the 3 other main operating systems have virtual desktops and how much I envy that fact; but I’ve not mentioned one of the particular things I love about two of those implementations. For MacOS and Windows users, a quick 4-finger swipe across the trackpad in either direction will slide the virtual desktop situated on either side of your screen into view. It is a subtle and beautiful gesture that is lacking on most Linux desktop setups and, frankly, I want it on Chrome OS.
If the animations in the video above are any indication, it would seem that swiping between desktops will be part of the Chrome OS experience before we know it.
The second video shows off the Virtual Desk’s handling of multiple monitor setups, which I hadn’t even thought of. For me, virtual desktops are most useful when you are confined to a single screen, so I don’t tend to even think about them when hooked up to an external display. It seems, however, that the Chrome team is already thinking this part through and they are creating the code to handle such circumstances. See for yourself:
All in all, I know that in our last post we made it sound like there was a ton of work to be done on Virtual Desks (according to a comment from one of the developers on the project) and that it may take some time before we see this in action, but the speed of development here seems way more rapid than we initially thought. We still don’t know when we will get to play with Virtual Desks on a Chromebook even in Dev or Canary Channels, but with this pace of development, it seems like we might see it show up sooner than we thought.