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A First Look At Google's Chrome Aura Interface

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 18 comments
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One of the major new developments for Chrome is the Aura window manager that will enable Google to offer a much richer interface to its Chrome and Chrome OS users. For a first look, check out a brief video below.

There are countless Aura entries in Google's Chromium revision blog, but there is not much information about it beyond a project page and the explanation that it will be a hardware accelerated UI. Google developer François Beaufort recently published videos on YouTube that provide a first look at Aura.

The video showcases an experimental feature that is only available in the Aura version of Chromium - translucent windows, which demos translucent window frames as well as constrained window dragging. Aura is still very much work in progress, but will enable Google to depart from GTK and decrease its reliance on Windows - and achieve much more UI code consistency across all supported platforms.

For the more immediate future, Google recently added a timeline feature in Chromium, which draws a graph of the data traffic sent and received by the browser. There is also a new flag, Pointer Lock, in the most recent nightly builds, which allows web applications to take over the mouse pointer to enhance web app functionality. A browser user can cancel such an action simply pressing the Escape key. A notable additions is also the chrome://sessions local URL, which displays all active tabs in Chrome - which works across multiple devices, if the live tab syncing feature is activated.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Yuka , November 25, 2011 11:52 PM
    That's an old Compiz concept in Linux, actually. XGL desktop times!

    Anyway, not new at all IMO.

    Cheers!
Other Comments
    Display all 18 comments.
  • 9 Hide
    Filiprino , November 25, 2011 11:20 PM
    It seems to me as they have copied Firefox grouping.
  • 11 Hide
    Yuka , November 25, 2011 11:52 PM
    That's an old Compiz concept in Linux, actually. XGL desktop times!

    Anyway, not new at all IMO.

    Cheers!
  • 4 Hide
    soundping , November 26, 2011 3:49 AM
    Now they'll be windows of porn jumping all over the place. lol
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , November 26, 2011 5:24 AM
    YukaThat's an old Compiz concept in Linux, actually. XGL desktop times!Anyway, not new at all IMO.Cheers!

    if im thinking of the same thing, i never liked that part of linux, i know its usefull, but i never liked it.
  • 0 Hide
    southernshark , November 26, 2011 5:38 AM
    its so amazing... how could i live without it??? its rich....
  • 0 Hide
    Thunderfox , November 26, 2011 6:15 AM
    Uh, if it uses GTK, how reliant on Windows can it be? Isn't its whole purpose supposed to be to make the UI portable?
  • -1 Hide
    eddieroolz , November 26, 2011 8:42 AM
    Am I correct in assuming this is for Chrome OS? If so, then why bother making this for the 5 people in the world that use it? I understand Google wants to increase adoption of Chrome OS but there's nothing Chrome OS can do that others can't - regular users are happy with Android/iOS tablet and Windows netbooks, and power users use Windows and Linux. The clueless use Mac OS X. Chrome OS just doesn't fit in there.
  • -2 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 26, 2011 12:45 PM
    eddieroolzAm I correct in assuming this is for Chrome OS? If so, then why bother making this for the 5 people in the world that use it? I understand Google wants to increase adoption of Chrome OS but there's nothing Chrome OS can do that others can't - regular users are happy with Android/iOS tablet and Windows netbooks, and power users use Windows and Linux. The clueless use Mac OS X. Chrome OS just doesn't fit in there.


    But but but.. it's the CLOUD!! It's TEH FUTURE!!!!!

    :lol: 

    Chrome interface is a POS. It's not "simple", it's dumbed down. I installed it on my PC yesterday and made my grandma do the same so that I can use Chrome's remote desktop feature (very easy and I don't know of any similar addon for FF), and SHE had trouble with the interface. First thing I hear: "Where did all the menus go? WTF?"

    :D 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 26, 2011 3:18 PM
    Tried Chrome OS in a virtual program. Can't see any real advantage to using it unless you work for Google or believe in nothing but what Google offers. Almost looks good for a pre boot OS when you just need to check mail or look up directions. Hardly anything that to me can replace a traditional OS like Apple's OS X or Microsoft's Windows. Their have been many faces of Linux on Desktops and not a single one has caught on in the consumer market unless you want to consider Android. Which I do think is a good platform for a Linux OS. But on Desktops or laptops in Enterprise or for consumers. People are used to certain applications. Google is very poor at understanding typical consumers. They are all geeks at Google and do not connect well with what a typical user wants.
  • 1 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , November 26, 2011 3:59 PM
    I'll wait, for windows 8..
  • 0 Hide
    toyotabedzrock , November 26, 2011 6:23 PM
    Opera has been working on interface acceleration for years now, and the V12 alpha builds support it already.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 27, 2011 1:36 AM
    Why is it called "translucent" when all the windows are 100% opaque?
  • 0 Hide
    sykozis , November 27, 2011 1:41 AM
    eddieroolzAm I correct in assuming this is for Chrome OS? If so, then why bother making this for the 5 people in the world that use it? I understand Google wants to increase adoption of Chrome OS but there's nothing Chrome OS can do that others can't - regular users are happy with Android/iOS tablet and Windows netbooks, and power users use Windows and Linux. The clueless use Mac OS X. Chrome OS just doesn't fit in there.

    Actually, there's is 1 thing ChromeOS can do....that other operating systems can't. Make a "laptop" computer completely useless when the power goes out....
  • 0 Hide
    DavidWoolmer , November 28, 2011 5:49 AM
    Thanks for the info............

    Natural Facelift
  • 0 Hide
    ichihaifu , November 28, 2011 7:23 AM
    sykozisActually, there's is 1 thing ChromeOS can do....that other operating systems can't. Make a "laptop" computer completely useless when the power goes out....

    Dunno where you live, but here most laptop users use 3G and 4G. I dont know if chrome OS has support for 3rd party devices like those yet though, I havent tried.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 21, 2012 12:59 PM
    Chromebooks come in wifi only and wifi/3G . They also offer 100mb a month for free for 2 years from verizon 3G. You can pay and upgrade that limit. Also, there are web apps for anything that you can do with a traditional laptop except play high end games like Skyrim. Casual games can be played on the web using web apps, Aviary Editor can compete with Photoshop, and Google Docs is a good free alternative to MS Office. When the power goes down, you can still watch movies stored on your hard drive and listen to music you have stored on your hard drive. You can also use the slimmed down Word Proccessor called Scratchpad which works without internet connection and when you get internet connection back, it syncs to Google Docs and saves it. What can you with any computer when the power goes out? I bet the main things you do is listen to music, watch movies, and maybe type a doc. You can do all that in Chrome without internet. Most of the apps only work when you have internet connection. That is true. However, think about the fact that web apps are free and you will always have the newest version. When Adobe CS7 comes out people will throw away CS6 and get CS7 after spending hundreds of dollars on CS6. What about security? Your info is not cached, its saved on Google's Cloud. You do not have to run any type of malware program. How much does Norton cost a year? 60$? You can X that out as well if you have chrome. If your computer messes up, you get a new one and log into chrome and it looks exactly the same as your old one. All of your apps, all of your settings, its all there. There are a lot of good things about chrome. The concept is great. Its greatly reduces the cost of running a business. You can also greatly reduce your IT dept cost. However, you do lose 85 percent of the functionality and about 90% of your apps if you do not have internet connection. Well its a good thing I have internet everywhere I go. I am never without internet. So chrome works well for me.