Chrome OS Testing a Smaller Shelf, Might be “Scrollable” (Update – New Widgets)

Update – A New Widget with Back and Home Buttons

Soon after I wrote about the possible “scroll” option to the Shelf, I spotted another piece of code that talks about adding “back and home” widgets to the Shelf.

I have seen this widget being mentioned a couple of times. However, now that I know about the upcoming compact design and the possible addition of scrolling, this makes more sense.

The code description simply says “CrOS Shelf: Separate widget for back and home buttons”. The bug associated with this change is private. However, if you read the comments inside these code changes, you will see things like:

// The shelf navigation widget holds the home button and (when in tablet mode)
// the back button.

This particular piece of code makes me speculate that this could be a tablet mode only change:

Change for Tablet Mode

Compact Shelf

You might have noticed 9to5Google’s report that Chrome OS is testing a smaller and compact Shelf. The flag for this change has been around for a few days but never worked. Kyle,
(@SkylledDev
) spotted this finally working in one of the recent Canary builds.

Flag Name: Show a smaller, denser shelf in laptop mode.

Description: Reduces the size of the shelf and its apps when in laptop mode. – Chrome OS

URL: #shelf-dense-clamshell

What about scroll?

The new design reduces the Shelf’s height about 15% and the app size about 30%. However, the code commit that I spotted today talks about making the Shelf “scrollable”. This makes me think that the team is planning to set a fixed width to the Shelf. The width will remain the same even when you add more apps to it. This, however, is only my speculation.

We will have to see this in action to tell you for sure. If we are lucky, we might see more code commits in the coming days explaining the feature further. Today’s code commit says it is “Part 1” of this change.

Scroll Shelf

Your Thoughts?

I am really curious to find out what you guys think about this change. I am not able to make up my find. A smaller Shelf with smaller icons was something that I was ok with. That will increase the desktop area, which is always a good thing.

Making the Shelf scrollable will hide some of the apps. We pin apps to the Shelf because so that we can access them quickly. Hiding them behind a scrollable area might make it difficult.

What do you think? Do you like the idea of a compact, scrollable Shelf? Let me know in comments!

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