Sifting through your apps and browser windows is about to get easier in Chrome OS. 

The latest developer channel release of the operating system adds text filtering to the overview spread to, Chrome developers say, ‘make it easier to select among multiple active items.’

In use the filter couldn’t be easier to try: press the [  ]] key on a Chrome keyboard (or swipe down with three fingers on a touchpad/touchscreen) to trigger the overview. Then, just start typing.

The filter gets to work instantly, highlighting matched windows with a black overlay. Hitting enter will bring the nearest match into focus. Apps and browsers that are not relevant to the text entered are rendered semi-transparent and cannot be selected.

overview mode image
Overview Mode – now with filtering

Visually it’s clearly early days for the feature. The on-screen text is small, hard to see and out of alignment with the rest of the screen. The lack of a discernible input field to denote the purpose of the text (given that window labels in the overview appear the same) is also off-putting.

For performance reasons the filter has not (yet) been hooked up to search through individual tabs. As such, it will only sort through active browser windows, running Chrome Apps, and panels or extension pop-outs.

The feature is readily available to try in the latest Chrome OS Dev release, no flags needed. Beta and Stable channel users can expect to see it trickle down to them in a few months, likely after the visual story has been refined a little.

Chrome Windows 8 Mode will also ship with the feature in a future dev channel release.

Chrome OS Development overview mode search