Google has given its Chrome OS a much needed overhaul which brings it much closer to the windowed environment of Windows and Mac rather than the alien sandboxed browser-like experience we had seen before.
The new updated called the Aura UI features a hardware accelerated UI, a departure from the cloud optimized experience originally touted by Google. Some of the new features of the UI include a window manager, which adds an overlapping windowed environment commonly seen on desktop operating systems like Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Besides this, there is also a Windows 7 like task bar and a iPad/Mac OS Lion like launchpad app launcher menu which is punctuated with a background and a multitude of apps.
Some of the project’s goals were spelt out at the Wiki page of the project on the Chromium Blog. The main goal of the project was to create a desktop window manager and shell environment with modern capabilities. The UI was supposed to offer rich visuals, large-scale animated transitions and effects, which was possible only with the assistance of hardware acceleration.
Other new features of this update include new modes for multiple monitor handling; updated Scratchpad app; new file types support – tar, gz and bzip2; updates to local audio and video player; a visual refresh of the Chrome OS settings; and a recovery tool that supports re-formatting recovery media.