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Latest Chrome Beta Adds Chrome OS-Style Metro Mode on Windows 8

Google pushed out Chrome 32 Beta for Windows and Mac a few days back – a release that has some shiny new features in tow.

All platforms get new ‘Tab Indicators‘.  As we explained recently, this handy feature lets you quickly identify a tab playing sound/video; accessing your webcam or in the process of ‘casting’ to another screen using Google’s Chromecast device.

To locate the playback of errant audio look out for the small speaker icon appended to the end of a tab:

tab indicators in chrome

For sites using your webcam or microphone, or those ‘casting’,  look out for the blinking ‘red dot’ or ‘blue rectangle’ icon respectively.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 20.28.41

Metro/Modern UI Mode for Chrome on Windows 8

For Windows 8 users Chrome 32 Beta brings another visual change – quite a big one at that. When Chrome is set as the default browser, and used in ‘metro mode’, a ‘Chrome OS-style’ workspace is presented.  

Chrome Windows 8 Metro

Google say that this approach has a number benefits over the old, full screen version. For example, you are no longer limited to running Chrome maximised, meaning you can run several windows on the same screen at the same time. You also get access to the App Launcher and App Shelf familiar to Chrome OS users.

Also of benefit to Windows users in this beta is improved malware protection.  Chrome automatically blocks the download of files known to be malware – a frontline move that chimes with Google’s recent decision to limit extension installs to those listed on the Chrome Web Store.

Download Google Chrome Beta for Windows

Want to try them out? You can download Google Chrome Beta from this link, or by changing your channel under Chrome > Settings > Help.

  • Does the Aura Shell for Windows 8 support wallpapers?

    • Not at present, no.

      • Alright, this probably means that it will inherit your desktop wallpaper from the Windows desktop.

        • Andrew McLoughlin

          Nope, it’s just grey :(

  • Samuel Gabbay

    WOW! I find it so useless to make a looking chrome os looking app for windows 8

    • Chris

      Not if it allows me to NOT have to run in full-screen mode and give me windowing ability like I can on my Chromebook or on the desktop in Windows.

  • floriano

    ahahahaha a trojan horse for chrome os :)

  • “set as the default browser, and used in ‘metro mode’” — You can’t start it in Metro mode without setting it as your default browser :)

    • But it can be set as the default browser and not be used in Metro mode, the point that that sentence is clarifying.

  • almo

    can’t wait until this becomes stable, but then whats the point chromebooks?

    • Chris

      It’s still a Windows computer with all its inherent vulnerabilities. Chromebooks boot up fast, are safe from viruses, get faster with age and OS updates, and (spoken as someone who is currently procrastinating on doing a System Refresh on a Win 8 computer because of how long I know it will take to do and then reinstall all my software), system restores (powerwashes) are measured in minutes. Not to mention 10 hour battery life on some of the latest. Making Chrome on Windows look like Chrome OS is just making the experience more coherent across different devices for those who use different platforms. I love my Acer Chromebook, but still have to use Windows for some applications.

  • Sebastien

    Doesn’t work properly for me on my Surface Pro running Windows 8.1. The Chrome window is not centered properly, missing the top and right and the buttons are misplaced. Any one else have the problem?

    • Eliezer Perez

      Yea my friend who recently purchased the SP2 has the same issue. He hasn’t figured out how to fix it. I’d also like for this new feature to include the wallpaper I have on my chromebook to appear on my desktop in this mode when I log into chrome.

  • irowe

    Chrome Canary says I can’t set it as default because it is a secondary installation of Chrome. How can I try the features described here?

    • Denaxin

      uninstall the default chrome

      • WRONG. Install Chrome Beta, that’s whats described here!

  • Surfer

    I find Chrome 32 Beta running high on GPU for windows 7..Usede only 2-3 extensions & for 3 tab+1 video streaming takes 35-40 % memory & upto 35% CPU usage..Could n’t shutdown GPU process.>Tried to disable some GPU composting on flags..No effect at all..Any suggesstion ..Thanks in advance..

  • Farhan Afnan Iskandar

    now windows 8 will can run 4 desktop environment :
    – Windows Modern UI
    – Windows Desktop
    – KDE
    – Chrome

  • jsebean

    Am I the only one turned off by the inability to change wallpaper in this “Chrome OS” mode? I would love to use it if it wasn’t so ugly.

  • Jop

    So people who are stuck with a Windows computer can now use this! How friendly of Google!