Chrome OS "Virtual Desks" Feature Getting Closer to Release

A new code commit to Chromium OS shows that Google may be getting closer to implementing “virtual desks” for Chrome OS, a feature that could make the company’s OS feel more like a real desktop operating system as well as improve users' workflows. 

Chrome OS Virtual Desks

In an interview from last November, Chrome OS Senior Product Manager Kan Liu mentioned that virtual desks would be on the roadmap for the operating system, but he didn't clarify when the feature would ship to all owners of Chromebooks.

A new commit to Chromium’s Gerrit source code management was entitled “Virtual Desks 1: Initial scaffolding“. There aren’t too many details shared in the commit, other than UI elements such as a “bar that will later contain desks’ thumbnails” and a “New desk” button being added to Chrome OS’overview mode.

However, the commit does contain a short demo video of how the virtual desks would be managed:

It’s clear from watching the demo that the feature still needs some polish, but it may not take much longer before everyone will receive it as an update to their own Chromebooks.

Why Virtual Desks for Chrome OS?

As the name itself implies, an OS with virtual desks or desktops means users can create and manage different configurations of work spaces, each with their own app shortcuts and opened apps and windows. For instance, you could have a personal desk, where you keep and open all of the apps and services that you need personally, and another one where you open only work-related applications.

For some, virtual desks may also be a preferred method of jumping between different web applications or web services as opposed to having each one loaded in a different tab in the same browser window. Smaller screens could especially benefit from this feature, as too many open tabs can feel cramped on smaller devices.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.