ChromeOS gets a desktop revamp
Google has redesigned the ChromeOS user interface to make it more desktop-like with a more traditional windowed system. The switch away from a full-screen browser-only environment is a major change from the original design goals of ChromeOS. The "Aura" user interface project has been ongoing for some time and makes use of hardware acceleration behind the scenes to provide more animated transitions. Up front, the more visible changes include a task bar, a Mac OS X Launchpad-styled launcher and overlapping windows.
The update is available in the dev channel for ChromeOS, but only for Acer AC700 and Samsung Series 5 Chromebooks; Google's original CR48 Chromebook is not supported. Other changes in the update include new modes for multiple monitor handling, an updated Scratchpad application, support for tar, gz and bzip2 files, updated local audio and video players and a refresh of the Chrome OS Settings application. A Recovery Tool that supports reformatting recovery media is also available. Instructions for switching to the Dev channel for ChromeOS are available.
The unofficial Hexxeh builds of ChromiumOS (the open source basis for ChromeOS), Vanilla and Lime (with extra drivers for more supported hardware) also have the new desktop style environment and can be installed on hardware other than Chromebooks.