Google Chrome unveils Project Athena: Chrome OS new UI

Chrome OS new UI is a project bringing “a new kind of user experience.” Android has been evolving, but the Chrome OS design has been pretty consistent for quite some time now. Basically, Chrome OS will be getting a new look soon.

The new design has a stacked windows interface, similar to the Chrome browser’s tabs on Android. Similarities to Android are particularly interesting given that the L preview introduces a new activity model that makes Chrome tabs their own tasks in their recent list. This may as well have the same reasoning as Athena dropping ‘tabbed content’.

Despite the fact that the team is currently working on it, Google employee Francòis Beaufort shared instructions for people who want to observe and scrutinize the new design in the Chromium source code. Chromium is the open source project in which Google shares all of its Chrome developments.

Going by the name ‘Athena,’ Beaufort described the prospective UI as a “brand new project the Chromium OS team is experimenting with in order to bring a new kind of user experience.”

Presently, the “first draft” of the UI has only basic window management, but some of the elements previously discussed are already included. Features as such include an app launcher, card-based window management, and the surprising lack of tabs.

The focus is now shifting away from the browser to the individual tasks. As in the first draft of Athena’s UI, the focal point is on the individual sites as points of entry for various activities, not on Chrome as a window that consists of several tabs or separate tasks.

The team is apparently experimenting with a new UI that appears to be based on the Material Design experience. Traces of Athena and a new source interface surfaced in the Chromium in mid-June, although Google didn’t publicly express anything about the topic until now.

Clearly, the people at Mountain View have no intention of allowing their OS underdog stagnate, whether or not Athena ends up being rolled out at the new face of Chrome remains to be seen.