Google is developing a new user interface for Chrome OS. It’s code-named “Athena,” and clues about the new UI have been appearing in the source code for the browser-based operating system for a while.

Now Google’s François Beaufort gives us an idea of what it will look like (and how to enable an early version yourself).


Athena is still a work in progress, so it will probably look a lot nicer by the time it rolls out as an update to Chrome OS. But you can already see how it presents your open browser windows as if they were a stack of cards you could flip through.

Earlier versions of Chrome OS let you switch between browser windows by viewing side-by-side thumbnails.

The new window manager looks a bit more like the “recent” menu from the Google Android L developer preview. Incidentally, it also looks a bit like Windows 7’s Aereo Flip 3D.

Athena is more than just a system for switching between windows. It’s basically a replacement for most part of the Chrome OS user interface that are separate from the Chrome web browser. But since the browser is the thing you see the most on a Chromebook or Chromebox, there’s a chance that when the new UI goes live you’ll hardly notice anyway.

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4 replies on “First look at Athena: Chrome OS is getting a new user interface”

  1. Athena:
    My heart felt like a shattered glass in an acid bath.
    I felt like one of those flattened ants you find on a crazy path.
    I would have topped myself to give her time she didn’t need to ask.
    Was I a suicidal psychopath?
    She’s just a girl…

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