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Chrome OS Dev Debuts Material Design File Manager

Screenshot 2015-02-11 at 11.22.54 PM

A new look file manager is among the changes greeting users of the Chrome OS developer channel, as Google pushes out a new release.

Chrome OS 42.0.2296.3 on the developer channel brings a number of changes, not all of which are fully finished or should be considered stable.

The new look File Manager is a fine case in point. Drenched from top to toe in the Material Design language, and benefitting from plenty of under the hood tweaks and clean-ups, further visual polishing is needed before it can be considered ready to roll down to stable channel users. Next update should see the bottom infobar moved to the top and Google’s new ‘cloud import’ button added.

The experimental “app launcher” is back, enabled by default for all users. Aside from a few visual touches, like a drop shadow under the search box and support for showing Google Doodles, it remains largely as functional as it was in last month’s release, complete with a preference for web search results over locally installed apps.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 23.45.05

With the plan to make the app launcher more than just a way to open applications — Google Now card integration is planned, for example — it’ll surprise no one to see the launcher shortcut tooltip amended to read simply: ‘launcher’.

An overview of the notable changes in this release:

  • New Material Design design and icon
  • Experimental app launcher re-enabled by default
  • App Launcher tooltip now reads ‘Launcher’, not ‘App Launcher’
  • Experimental app launcher now supports Google Doodles
  • Roboto font enabled by default
  • ‘Take screenshot’ option in settings > tools menu
  • Smart Unlock Proximity settings
  • Pressure based memory management options available in chrome://flags

Getting the Update

This update, packed with the usual bug fixes, security updates and under the hood improvements that we all benefit from, even if we can’t always see them, is rolling out to a smaller selection of Chrome devices than normal from today, including the Acer C710, Samsung Series 5, Samsung Series 3 and CR-48.

To check for an update head to Settings > About Chrome OS and click the ‘Check for and apply update’ button.

If you’re not using a device set to get this update don’t fret: you will get all of the changes above (and plenty more) in a subsequent update. It’s not unusual, especially on the developer channel, for devices to be excluded from an update, typically for technical reasons.

  • moe

    design file manager looks good, i’m not sure about the app launcher. It looks out of touch, from material design. I hope for a new look soon. It looks too plain for material design.

  • FirstLine

    I like the new Files app. Makes it a nice spacious app for a ChromeOS tablet… *ducks*

    • Tomfoolery

      It would be great if the new pixel was a hybrid.

    • Gaveasky .

      I bought a chromebook and now google screws up ChromeOS? If this is the case (apparently it is with this counter-intuitive file manager) I will be seriously pissed off

      • TechRomancer

        What’s un-intuitive about it?

        • Gaveasky .

          The new launcher for example, if I want to open an app I have to click on the icon down the corner, then type the name of the app, move my mouse all the way up to the name of the app and click on it (pressing enter won’t do it)

          It does look and feel nice but it makes the whole process a lot slower, which doesn’t seem bad, but in everyday use it gets annoying for the user. NOT doing this is one of the first things you learn when taking a course on things related to UI design, so I don’t think it will last very long.

          • 6ame9o

            My chromebook has a search key where ususally the caps lock is, which opens the app launcher. I can then search and navigate through the results with the arrowkeys.

          • Gaveasky .

            I edited my original comment at the end

          • Carl Draper

            Well i am guessing it’s not been properly implemented *yet* in the *experimental* launcher

          • Carl Draper

            No you don’t have to use the mouse, tap the Search button on the keyboard and then start typing the name of the app you want.

          • Gaveasky .

            I edited my original comment at the end, pls refer.

          • xiciu

            You mean it’s not highlighted like on the small one? You are unable to press enter to launch it? ;/

      • liamdools

        That’s how I felt. I bought a C720 in late 2013, and I loved it. It got faster with every update… for about two months. Now it’s a hideous mess ridden with bugs. It’s so bad I actually ended up wiping the drive and installing Linux. Can’t wait to upgrade to a cheap Windows laptop (the demo models at BEST BUY were faster than the C720 with Chrome OS, for crying out loud.)

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS


  • Edward Ashdown

    That font though? I hope Chromebooks don’t go too far with their ‘for education branding’ because that does look like a classroom font… What’s wrong with Roboto, which was only recently added?

    • Rami Selin

      Er… Isn’t that Roboto.

      • Edward Ashdown

        If it is, then apparently Roboto needs a rethink… As does my prescription!!! Hahaha!

  • Boothy

    Does the flag to disable the new launcher work this time?
    New file manager looks good though. Is that a blue top bar I spot? The start of colour coded header bars, like Lollipop……..

  • Georgie Orman

    Beta just landed on Acer Chromebook 13. It added always on hot-word detection under a flag.

    • Chad

      Nothing here yet….

      • Georgie Orman

        Try looking under settings.

  • rage- rebels

    Nice to see the file size info

  • rage- rebels

    i know, forget about it

  • kmdb

    Why did Google show off amazing looking applications at I/O and then deliver us with mediocre design like this? The mockup from earlier is much nicer.

    • Boothy

      Why did Google demo loads of stuff at I/O 2014, that is still not delivered just a few months before I/O 2015.
      What are they going to highlight this year. Same stuff??

  • Austin Davolt

    Im still waiting for my chromebook to update…

  • Chris

    Do folks generally like the new-look launcher? It seems like a real step backwards to me, since it’ll make the process of opening apps a little slower every time (unless I’m missing something) – going from “click launcher, click app” to “click launcher, type app name, click app”. But most of the times I open the launcher it’s to open an app. And I can’t put app shortcuts on the desktop either (not that I particularly like doing that). Do you think they’ll give an option to use either new or old style? I love my Chromebook, but this is the first dev channel change I’ve yet seen in ChromeOS that has made me sad … :-(

    • Boothy

      Nope. For the reasons you mentioned.
      Having said that, I’ve just tried it on Beta again, and it’s getting a bit better. You can arrow down with the keyboard now, although it still takes 6 key presses to achieve the same as 1 with the current launcher.
      I think they are enabling it to garner feedback.
      So, use the “submit feedback”, “report an issue” functions, and have your say direct to Google.
      They do incorporate suggestions in, if they agree. I’ve seen some of my own feedback make it in in places (or they and everyone else thought of the same thing ☺)

  • OverlyEquipped

    Wow, this design is incredibly underwhelming compared to what was shown in the mock-up designs. Surely this is just one of the few transitions they’ll make until they embrace full material design.


  • Walmast

    There’s also a bug. If you have the taskbar on the leftside, a part of the taskbar (settings) is placed wrong on the screen.

  • matthiasr

    Update also available on HP Chromebook 14 !

    • Eshaan Piewaffles

      the update came across all devices yesterday :)

  • Austin Davolt

    Hope they optimize it soon, this is the slowest I have ever seen my chromebook.This is surely just a transitional state.

  • Alucard291

    Bizzarely enough MTP seems to be gone… Or is that just for me?

  • Dude

    Should I update my chromebook to dev? I’m currently on beta and have experienced no gltiches or problems.

    • Beta is updated every three weeks, Dev every week and a half, and Canary is a daily build (although that daily build will get pushed if, and only if, it also includes a version number change, so don’t expect daily updates all the time either). With more frequent updates comes more bugs and more unfinished (half-baked) features…

  • liamdools

    How did I know they were going to make it look like total crap by the time we actually got it?

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  • harrypedro

    do i have any kind of options if i don’t wanna update? i’m not fan of material design at all.
    At least any way to change those colors tho.


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