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Chrome OS 80 beta tests gesture navigation, multiple quick settings pages

Chrome OS' gesture navigation works similarly to Android 10's gestures

Google seems to be constantly developing new features for Chrome OS, and it looks like the latest version of the Linux-based browser-made-operating system contains gesture navigation.

As spotted by Android Police, Chrome OS version 80 — which is now in beta — sports gesture navigation as well as multiple quick settings pages. However, to use the new features, you’ll need the modular shelf flag enabled. Users who previously enabled that setting in Chrome OS 79 will need to re-enable it after the update.

The Chrome browser and Chrome OS both use settings flags to control various in-development features and other under-the-hood settings that impact how the browser or OS work. The modular shelf is a prime example of that. To enable the flag, type ‘chrome://flags/#shelf-hotseat’ into Chrome’s address bar to pull up the flag and turn it on.

Once enabled, Chrome OS 80 gains gesture navigation that works similarly to the gestures on Android 10. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen takes you home, swiping up and holding opens the overview screen. However, it’s not exactly the same — swiping in from the edge of the screen to go back only works on the left side, not the right like on Android 10. Finally, there’s a swipe-up gesture to open the app dock that seems to work like the app drawer gesture in the Pixel Launcher.

The gestures work well but aren’t perfect by any stretch

Android Police notes that users can still pull down on the top of the display to go to the home screen, but it’s not clear if that gesture will stick around. It also shared a video of the gestures in action if you’re curious to see how they work.

While they seem to work smoothly, they don’t work properly with some apps (both Android apps and web-based apps). Mainly, it appears to be a conflict between the left-edge back gesture and the slide-out menu in some apps. The Play Store, for example, has a slide-out hamburger menu. Swiping in from the left edge triggers both the back action and the hamburger menu and causes the app to freak out.

In other words, the new gesture navigation may not quite be ready for daily use yet.

Finally, Chrome OS 80 now has multiple pages for quick settings tiles, similar to Android. At the moment, the icons aren’t editable and users can’t add more quick settings toggles. It appears the feature is still a work-in-progress, and by the time it rolls out to the public, it will likely have both those features.

Source: Android Police

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