Of all the parts of the Chrome OS experience that have been changed, overhauled, or updated, there is still one core system app that has been skipped over again and again: the media viewer. It is functional, but not accessible on its own and the overall look and feel of the app still feels like it belongs in a version of Chrome OS from years ago.
Double-clicking a photo brings up the current viewer and gives users a few quick edits they can make to pics, but it all feels a bit out of place. Sure, it can handle most photos and videos, but not documents like PDFs. If you call up the viewer by double-clicking a photos and scroll over to a video, it will play just fine there. Strangely, though, when you double-click a video from the Files app itselft (not getting there from the viewer), you actually get a totally different and unique system app to play back your videos. Why it doesn’t just open the current media player is not only strange, it is a recipe for a bit of general user confusion.
While we can’t be certain of exactly what this new media app will be once it is delivered, it looks like Google may be finally cleaning up some of these strange inconsistencies. Chrome Story reports findings of a new system web app in Chrome OS Canary that has the generic label of ‘Media App’ and is right in the launcher out of the box. No need to install or opt in to anything.
Right now, the app doesn’t do a lot, but it could be the beginning of a nice media hub for Chromebooks. I could imagine an app that can be opened to access and see all my local media and cloud media alike. Throw in Google Photos support and Chromecast abilities in and you have an interesting addition to Chrome OS in my opinion. I may be reaching a bit, but it would be amazing to see Google take this and bake in a few tools from Google Photos like image editing and basic video clipping as well. I know the current photo viewer has some of this, but the Google Photos editor is a far better experience that I opt for 100% of the time.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for this new system app to make its way down the more stable channels of Chrome OS as I have a feeling it could end up being a pretty important part of the Chromebook experience in the coming months. Consumer adoption of Chromebooks is up year over year, and this year’s wide variety of new devices will only keep that train rolling. Google needs to keep making better user experiences across the board like this to accommodate new converts to Chrome OS as time goes by.