Chrome OS puts the “Preview” button back on the shelf
I said it and I meant it – virtual desktops on a Chromebook felt incomplete without this important feature. The only accessibility-critical feature that existed in 2013 but was needlessly ripped from the operating system to make room for others – the “Preview” button! After advocating for the return of the quick access shelf icon to see which windows are open without needing to reach the top of my keyboard, it looks like the Chrome OS development team has found my sound argument.
Discovered by Chrome Story, a new Chromium Repository commit shows that a feature flag will be introduced soon, which will activate the long-lost “View” button and put it on your Chromebook shelf near the status area. Many might not realize it, but it was right off the clock before the Peeking launcher was introduced in Chrome OS before Google decided it would only appear in tablet mode. Soon after, they got rid of it completely.
Overview_button: added chrome flag
Added the experiment flag to the overview button.
“…I think the company needs to bring back the long forgotten presenter button that was on the Chromebook shelf! Check out the image below of the Pixel Slate – you’ll see that before its update to gesture-based navigation, a rectangle with two vertical lines to its right appeared at the bottom right of the shelf. This would open preview mode and display your open windows. Now you are forced to slide up from the shelf and hold in order to remove them in tablet mode.
While that button doesn’t make much sense for Chrome OS in tablet mode anymore, I think it should make a comeback for laptops and desktops running Google’s operating system. Being able to move my mouse to the shelf and click to raise my desks would be great, and that would mean I wouldn’t have to reach for the top row of the keyboard or use my right hand to activate with a gesture. on the touchpad before moving my hand to the mouse all the time.
– Me looking into the future, apparently
Now obviously the shelf is cluttered with all the icons that Google adds to it, but I have a few solutions. There is no reason why the “Preview” button cannot be introduced in the accessibility settings so that users who want to can activate it and those who do not wish to can just deactivate it! Additionally, with the introduction of the exciting new Productivity Launcher (depending on who you ask), the dev team could just add a way for users to choose between left or right aligned shelf icons. center to clear congestion. It’s not for everyone, but I showed what it would look like in my mockups of what hardware would look like on a Chromebook.
Either way, there are options, and hopefully Google will explore them all. The reintroduction of a vital shelving shortcut for open windows is proof of that, and I appreciate it. There is currently no indication of when this flag will appear in the Canary Channel, so it’s a long way off for the average Chrome OS Stable user, but we’ll keep you posted as the development progresses for this feature!