The Chrome OS file manager is undergoing a redesign that will bring it in line with Google’s Material design guidelines, a recent bug report confirms.

Not that anyone will be shocked by such news. The entire Chrome OS UI is, in some small stroke or another, getting a lick of Material-style paint. We’ve already seen early drops trickle down to developer builds of the OS, like the new-look Chrome App Launcher, ‘enhanced’ bookmarks experience and a handful of minor icon tweaks. All serve to freshen things up.

For the Chrome OS file manager there’s a very good chance that the changes will be far less subtle than a mere colour tint and drop shadow effect. In fact, there’s a good chance it will be unrecognisable from its current state.

Chrome File Manager Redesign — Is This It?

Google’s official Material Design documentation features a number of screenshots of a Chrome OS desktop with heavy material design influences.

Some of those images feature a file manager (or a desktop Google Drive app). Also note the Android-style coloured window frame, code for which landed in Chrome OS a while back.

material design file manager for chromebooks
Google’s own Material Design docs feature this file manager design
The same desktop app with the side drawer revealed
The same desktop app with the side drawer revealed

Are we looking at the new look Chrome OS file manager in the images above? That’s hard to know for sure. The images could simply be illustrating the specific examples being made in the documentation at the points they appear.

The sidebar also houses options more commonly associated with Google Drive (though it should be noted the same options are available in the sidebar of when accessing Google Drive).

Mock-ups of ideal designs and the real-world implementations we end up using often differ — sometimes drastically. The former is limited only by the imagination and skill of the designer, while the latter comes burdened by technical implementation, performance cadence and usability testing.

Coming in Chrome 42 — Plus a new Icon

New Files.App Icon
New Files.App Icon

The good news is that we may not have to wait too long to find out. Both this bug report and another which also gives us a look at a new icon, mention targeting the Chrome v42 milestone.

If the Chrome OS File Manager makeover can ‘materialise’ on target (and given that milestones slip all the time, it really is an ‘if’) we’ll find out all we want to know very shortly as Chrome 42 is due to branch next month.

Chrome OS Development material design