Virtual desktops – or virtual desks as they are being called during development – are a great help for anyone who needs an extra layer of productivity when stuck on a single screen. Think of it as virtual extended displays waiting just off screen for you to summon them up, filled with other workspace things like email, browsers, or other apps you don’t want hiding behind whatever it is you are currently working on.
They are not a new concept to computing, and basically every major desktop OS has some version of this setup now that Windows 10 leverages virtual desktops quite well. Chrome OS with its ability to leverage extended displays and app overview mode has always seemed ripe for virtual workspaces and, over the past few months, we’ve seen the effort finally begin moving forward.
Just last night I got an email update on a bug I follow that is dealing with the ongoing development of Virtual Desks on Chrome OS. Though I get these emails pretty often, they frequently don’t have much new going on. Last night’s email had reference to a video, however, and it shows some fantastic progress on the Virtual Desks front. Check it out below.
From the looks of this video, we still have the ability to add up to 4 desktops, but they’ve added the ability to keep multiple windows arranged in each, and then move between those desktops from the overview mode.
It also looks like the handling of open windows has been dealt with when an entire desktop is closed. Once users can drag those desktops around to reorder them, the team will only need to add all the proper animations and hopefully some trackpad gesture navigation to the mix to fully flesh this all out.
This is already starting to look quite promising if you ask me. From the developer, though:
Desk activation and removal from overview mode. No desk switch animation, or mini view content yet.
Please note that this feature is a very early work in progress, and these demos should not be considered indicative of its final state. They are just posted here to help the code reviewers see what the CL under review is implementing.
I’m hoping for a Chrome 74 release, but the realistic side of me says it won’t be until 75 or perhaps even 76. Either way, it is encouraging to see Virtual Desks moving forward as it is a feature I plan on using a lot.