Over the years, Chromebooks have become quite good at multitasking. From window snapping to tab scrubbing to virtual desks, Chromebooks possess a lot of abilities to help users get things done in a more organized way on a daily basis. The latest addition to this feature set has been the introduction of split-screen options that appear when you hover the maximize button at the top of any open window.
We’ve covered it already, but this new feature brings up a few options for any open window that allow the user to auto-snap and resize that window based on a few presets: full screen, half screen, 1/3 or 2/3 screen, and floating/always-on-top. It’s a handy feature that is a bit more upfront than the already-existing abilities we’ve had for window snapping on Chromebooks up until now.
For reference, you can still drag a window to either side of the screen to quickly get a 1/2 screen split or drag it to the top of the screen to go full-sized. You can also use ALT + [ or ] to quickly snap windows to either side as well; and though I find I use those two methods far more than the new way of doing things, I like the hovering option simply because it is clear and straightforward for users.
A new perk for the new split screen feature
Thanks to a find by C2 Productions over on Twitter, we have an early look at a new twist Google is testing for those who take advantage of these newer screen-splitting options. Let’s face it, when you hover that button and go to split your screen, you usually aren’t just trying to resize a single window. You are most likely wanting to put another window in that now-unused portion of the desktop, and this new tweak to the split-screen feature should make this far easier. Take a look!
As you can see, with this new feature enabled in ChromeOS Canary 120, the new split-screen shortcuts change the window size and then open up an overview screen for you to choose the other app you’d like to set beside it. It’s similar to what we see in tablet mode and I think this could end up being very useful for a lot of people when/if it actually rolls out down the road.
And if you would rather just resize your window and leave empty space to the side, you can just click anywhere on the screen other than one of the overview windows and be all set. It really does make a ton of sense and though it’ll take a bit of getting used to, I think this is a move by the ChromeOS team in the right direction for split-screen multitasking.
This is why I love ChromeOS and Chromebooks so much. Small tweaks over time that aren’t just added to say they were added. Instead, the ChromeOS team generally tries to add/remove things that make the user experience better and better over time for real humans that interact with these devices. With each 4-week update, small changes show up and over time, these changes build up to really make this may absolute favorite OS to use on a daily basis.