An Exposé-style application window picker is on its way to Chrome OS.

The feature, called (rather boringly) ‘Overview Mode’, will show small versions of open windows on screen and let the user click on one to bring it in focus.

Overview Mode will be triggered by pressing the Window Selector Key (F5) on a Chromebook, though Alt+Tab may also use the overview mode, simply adding a highlight to a selected window as it cycles through.

But is there a need for such a feature?

Although Chrome OS provides a fairly decent launcher, it isn’t without drawbacks.

For example, when an app as more than one window open (e.g. Chrome) it can be fiddly to select the get to the one you want using the launcher and a mouse. You have to move your mouse/hand down to the bottom of the screen to the launcher, select the correct window from a list, and then get travel back up to interact with the window.

Petty sounding, sure. But for some, especially those who make heavy use of their keyboard, it can feel like a speed-bump in an otherwise silky-smooth workflow.

Overview Mode looks like it’ll solve this. Throw in a trackpad gesture or hot-corner to trigger it and I’d be very happy!

For now the feature is yet to land in Chrome OS development builds, but it can be found in Chromium OS Daily behind the flag ‘–ash-enable-overview-mode’. 

Chrome OS aura features dev