Chrome OS to Get Chromecast-like Ambient Mode (Screensaver?)

I am looking at a code commit which touches quietly a few files around Ash, Chrome OS desktop environment and it talks about a new “Ambient Mode‘. On a Chromecast, Ambient Mode is what appears when your Chromecast connected display is idle. You could call it a screensaver too.

It is important to note that all these code changes are happening within the /ash/ambient folder. This confirms that the code is for Chrome OS. You occasionally see Chromecast and even Nest Home related code changes in the Chromium OS repository. However, this particular change is happening within the /ash directory.

Ambient Mode

On a Chromecast, Ambient Mode offers a bunch of options. You can choose to show photos from various sources including your own Google Photos account. Along with that, you could see headlines from Google News, time and even weather.

Will the new Chrome OS Ambient mode will have the same set of features? Too early to say. However, I can already see mentions of

There is code added even for choosing the best display method for each photo:

/ TODO(wutao): Options to choose how to layout image, such as STRETCH,

There used to be a screensaver in Chromium OS code, which, as far as I know, did not make it to Chrome OS. This was spotted back in 2010.

This time, things will definitely be different, I hope! I will definitely keep you all posted as more information emerges on this new development. Let me make this clear though. The code does not use the word “screensaver” anywhere. It is my speculation. If this is just an Ambient Mode without the intention of being used as a screensaver, we might see this only in Kiosk mode etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I am sure most of you will agree that a screensaver or built-in screensaver will be nice to have. However, I am interested to know that how many of you think that this is screensaver that we are looking at.

Let me know in comments!

Update: Read the comments!

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