Chrome OS 76 rollout: updated user-interface, improved Android app sign-in and more

Chrome OS 76 rollout: updated user-interface, improved Android app sign-in and more

Google’s Chrome OS 76 update is finally available. After rolling out to Android, Mac, Linux and Windows, version 76 has significant changes to the operating system across the board. One of the most notable are the interface changes.

Unlike in the previous Chrome OS updates, most of the changes will be readily noticed by users right off the bat. Included in the new features are Flash being blocked by default, media controls, new single sign-in for Android apps and many more.

The new and updated features…

Version 76 brings in UI changes and new features
Version 76 brings in UI changes and new features

Default blocks Flash

Over the past decade, Google has urged sites to steer away from Flash for a faster, safer and more battery-efficient browsing. Between late 2016 and early 2017, Chrome blocked background Flash elements. And as a big HTML5 proponent, Google defaulted to HTML5, where users will have to manually enable Adobe plug-in on a site-to-site basis.

Chrome OS 76 default blocks Flash
Chrome OS 76 default blocks Flash

In July 2017, Adobe announced that it wouold finally stop supporting Flash. Google followed suit by announcing that it would also remove browser plug-in by late 2020. Chrome OS 76 blocks Flash in browser by default. However, users will still have the option [chrome://settings/content/flash] to switch back to the current “Ask first”, where a permission is required for east sites after every browser restart – in several more releases.

Single sign-in for Android apps

Google is also rolling out single sign-in experience for Chrome and Android applications on Chrome OS later this month. There will be a new “Google Accounts” section in the setting that will manage all sign-ins and list all emails.

This includes reauthenticating or removing some secondary accounts and adding others. Attempts to add secondary accounts from Chrome or ARC++ will be redirected to this unified flow. Users that previously had a secondary account signed in to Chrome or ARC++ will need to reauthenticate following the update, which will add their account to Account Manager.

Changes media controls

Media controls has been added in the Chrome OS notification center for play/pause and back/forward. The card will show where the media playback is coming from and they take the form of Android notification. The theming of the controls will vary depending on the media in question.

For example, if the media in question is a music-streaming app, it will show you font and background colors which are based from the official artwork seen on the right corner. Also, it will show in the interface where the media is playing from as well as the artist.

Chrome OS notification added media controls
Chrome OS notification added media controls

Redesigned Google camera

Changes in the Google camera on the Chrome OS 76

In the redesigned Google camera, shutter button, mode switcher and gallery preview has been placed in the right side of the screen. Meanwhile, on the opposite side are controls to mirror the feed, timer and enable/disable grid.

Left-side are settings of Google camera
Left-side are settings of Google camera

Bubble Overlay on the browser tabs

Notice when you open too many tabs in a Chrome window, the tab indicator shrinks until it is just the site’s favicon. And in order to be able to know which sites are in the tab, you can hover on the tab. In the previous version 75, a black strip with the site’s name would appear.

But, with Chrome OS 76, a bubble overlay appearing just beneath the open tab will show up. It shows the site’s name as well as the URL. Compared to the previous, the bubble overlay is much bigger, thus, easier to read and more in line with the Material Theme.

Incognito Mode

Incognito Mode in Chrome OS 75
Incognito Mode in Chrome OS 75

A lot of publications rely on subscriptions. And it will stop you from viewing articles in private (incognito) browser in order to get around free article limits.

Chrome OS 76 addresses one way that websites would be able to determine if you are in Incognito Mode to go around paywall. The release fixes how Chrome implements the FileSystem API in order to “detect private mode” scripts will no longer be able to take advantage of that indicator.

Incognito Mode in Chrome OS 76
Incognito Mode in Chrome OS 76

Browser Settings and Dark Mode

Browser settings gets an improvement by always displaying the navigation drawer. When things get a little too overwhelming, you can always refer to the navigation drawer on the left-side corner of the screen and find what you have been looking for.

What’s good for Chrome for Mac and Windows is that it already has a darker look that turns the address bar, tabs, and other interface elements gray when the OS-level dark theme is enabled.

Chrome OS 76 lets websites automatically enable dark modes, but lets users choose preference with the “prefers-color-scheme” media query. But first, developers will be required to create themed versions of their content.

Install shortcut for PWA and Frosted Glass

"Install" shortcut for PWAs
“Install” shortcut for PWAs

The Chrome OS 76 adds an “Install” shortcut for Progressive Web Apps in the Omnibox. When you navigate to a supported site, a “plus” icon will appear next to the “star” (bookmarking). Once you click it, the “Install app?” panel appears together with the details of the PWA. Furthermore, in the version 76 PWAs will also check for updates more often.

The “frosted glass” is one popular look on apps, especially in iOS, where UI elements are partially translucent. This results to a slightly blurred but still visible background. This is also possible on the web with the CSS backdrop-filter property that is supported by version 76.

The backdrop-filter CSS property applies one or more filters to the “backdrop” of an element. The “backdrop” basically means all of the painted content that lies behind the element. This allows designers to construct “frosted glass” dialog boxes, video overlays, translucent navigation headers, and more.

"Frosted Glass" on Chrome OS 76
“Frosted Glass” on Chrome OS 76

Changes have already been brought in both desktop Chrome and Chrome OS. By now, users have noticed these changes and updates. Over the next few weeks, Chrome OS 76 will be available to all Chromebooks.

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