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Aura UI looks a lot like Windows 8 Desktop, will deploy to all Chromebooks except CR-48

Even as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) heads in bold new directions with its user interface (UI) in the Metro UI powered Windows 8, Google Inc. (GOOG) is looking (unofficially, of course) to the veteran software giant for inspiration.

Google's Chrome OS project has been more or less a flop.  While exact sales numbers are hard to come by, the project was only backed by two manufacturers -- specifically Acer Inc. (TPE:2353) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930).  Launching mid-summer in 2011, Chrome OS felt buggy and incomplete.  

While it came packaged in a number of nice netbooks, the built-around-the-browser concept was hampered by the inability to connect properly to token-authenticated networks commonly encountered at coffeehouses.  Coupled with poor publicity these issues led Acer to reportedly only sell 5,000 "Chromebooks" (Chrome OS notebooks) in 2011, according to Digitimes.
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But at CES 2012, Google seemed intent not to give up, working with Samsung to announce new models.

Now a bit more of its plans for a Chrome OS revital have come to light.  Google is freshening up the mobile PC operating system with a fresh taskabar-enabled user interface, complete with a positively Windows-like right hand notification area and pinned program icons in the lower left hand span of the taskbar.

Chrome OS v. Windows 8 Desktop
Chrome's Aura UI looks awfully similar to Windows 8 Desktop.
[Image Source: Google (bottom), Tinkertry (top)]

Like Windows 8's desktop, the new Google UI has a taskbar, but lacks any sort of "Start Menu" so to speak.  Really, Windows 8's desktop and the new Chrome OS UI, dubbed Aura UI, are spitting images of one another.  The only real visual difference is the lack of a shade back to the taskbar in Google's UI.  However, a Windows-like shaded backing to the taskbar is added when Browser Windows are active

Aura UI
Google goes Windows. [Image Source: Google]

Google brags that the new Windows-like interface offers "rich visuals, large-scale animated transitions and effects that can be produced only with the assistance of hardware acceleration" and should "provide the foundation of a flexible windowing system and shell for Chrome and ChromeOS on a variety of form factors."

Aura UI
The program icons are reminiscent of Android or iOS, but lack the cutting edge feel of Metro UI's LIVE Tiles. [Image Source: Google]

The update is currently in the Dev channel and should be rolled out to all Acer and Samsung Chromebooks in the wild shortly.  The early prototype CR-48 Chromebooks, which Google handed out to promote/test the platform, will not be eligible for the UI upgrade as they lack sufficient hardware to support it.  Google clarifies that, "They will continue to receive security and critical updates as necessary."

And it tells CR-48 owners to hang on, stating, "We’ll bring CR-48 devices back onto the release train after this release."


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Gnome 2
By drycrust3 on 4/10/2012 5:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google Inc. (GOOG) is looking (unofficially, of course) to the veteran software giant for inspiration.

The silly part about this is Google didn't even need to look at anything from Microsoft to get inspiration. I just can't see why anyone would overlook the Gnome 2 layout. To me, it is one of the best layout's around.
Here is what I'm talking about for those that don't know:
http://linux.softpedia.com/progScreenshots/GreenTe...
This doesn't look exciting, but that is because this layout is meant to be an interface between the user and the applications they want to use, it isn't meant to be the centre of attention, a piece of art, or to be constantly tinkered with. You set it up and go.
You don't expect a racing car to have a nice interior, you expect the interior to help the driver drive. The same applies with Gnome 2: the desktop is meant to help you spend your time using your applications.

Looking at the top bar of the desktop, you can already see three icons on the left (just to the right of "System") which a user (note the singular) can easily change or add to so their favourite applications are literally "a mouse click away". No need to minimise or rearrange open windows to start a new application, the user just clicks on the icon they have place on the top bar and the application (or some other function) starts.
The "Applications" and "System" are obviously drop down menus for the rest of your applications or system settings, while to the right are things like you battery charge, date and time, etc.
Looking at the bottom bar, the left hand side is mostly the applications that are concurrently running, while on the right are the multiple windows environments ... yes, multiple windows environments. That means you could set up one windows environment for some documents you are editing, while another has a game you're playing.




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