All of Google’s properties will eventually bear a look inspired by ‘Material Design‘ and Android L, and Chrome OS is part of that sweeping visual overhaul, too. A new preview posted by Google “Happiness Evangelist” François Beaufort shows a very early design inspired by the card-style multitasking view that made an appearance in Android L, the new Material Design-based update for Google’s mobile OS. The new look, which clearly lacks polish and yet bears some hallmark resemblance to Google’s other Material Design reimaginings, is actually available already on the pre-release Chromium OS builds, and those keen on getting an early look and not afraid to get their hands a little dirty can follow along with fresh updates to the new look as they happen.
Google’s François Beaufort shared a screenshot today of a completely redesigned user experience for Chrome OS that he says the Chromium OS team is currently experimenting with. The screenshot shows a first draft that “consists in a collection of windows with some simple window management.” The project is called Athena and Beaufort shared instructions for checking it out in the Chromium source code (the open source project that Google’s Chrome OS shares its code with): “By simply checking out the chromium source code and compiling the convenient “athena_main” target withninja -C out/Release athena_main, you’ll be able to follow the Work In Progress.” As you can see in the image, the UI seems to use a similar stacking cards style interface to Chrome tabs on Android with a large search bar and a bookmarks bar along the bottom of the screen separate from the windows. Previous reports popped up when hints at the Athena project were first discovered in Chromium code. Several reports shared early details of the project including plans for a split-screen mode, touchscreen support, an onscreen keyboard, touch gestures and other hints that the project is aimed at revamping the old Chrome windows manager to be more like its touch-friendly Android counterpart.