We reported on the imminent arrival of Virtual Desks for Chrome OS last week, but here’s the basic idea: just like MacOS, Windows, and most Linux Desktops, Chrome OS is getting ready to (finally) get virtual desktops.
If you’ve been around here for any amount of time, you’ll know I’ve been waiting for this particular feature for a very long time. In that post, I explained virtual desktops in this way:
Imagine having three monitors side by side. Using those extra screens usually means having something like one screen with messaging, one screen with a browser and maybe another with creative apps like Photoshop, and IDE, or a video editor. Everyone’s setup is different, but you get the gist. Without having to move windows around, I can simply move my eyes back and forth and see all my workspaces simply.
When you move that type of setup to a single screen, all those open window get stacked on top of one another and workflows are simply not as good. You have to either minimize/maximize windows or over-utilize the overview mode to see what you are doing. To me it starts to feel claustrophobic pretty quickly. Given the option to work with multiple monitors, I’ll take that setup every single time.
With Virtual Desks, Chrome OS is finally adopting an option to show these virtualized extra screens in what looks to be a decently-intuitive way. We’re still unsure when we’ll see the feature show up, but just yesterday a new commit was made with an included example video of a few more graphic elements for the entire Virtual Desks effort.
You can now see the way users will interface with this new feature, where the desktops will be shown, how they can be closed/removed and how they can be added.
According to Kyle Bradshaw over at 9to5Google, there is a file in this same commit that confirms that 4 desks will be the maximum and that users will not be able to name these desks as the names are hard-coded into Chrome OS. As Linux does limit the number of virtual desktops to 4 in many of its desktop environments and Chrome OS is, after all, based on Linux, the 4-desktop-limit isn’t odd at all to me.
While some users may find this limiting, I rarely if ever use more than a couple virtual desktops on any system, so I’m not put off by the limit of 4 or the inability to rename them. I just want a few extra desktops to work with when I’m out and about, and it looks closer than ever!
We’ll be keeping a close eye on this moving forward and be sure to update you when we learn more about a firm release date for this feature.