Ciertas semanas, Google Chrome OS consigue tantas funciones nuevas que semeja que prácticamente nos ahogamos en las posibilidades. Y el hombre vivo, prosigue siendo una sensación exquisita (aun con la metafórica falta de oxígeno).
However, One part of the Google Chrome OS experience that hasn't changed much lately is the desktop environment., you know, the Chromebook's unusually humble home screen. Sure, the taskbar area (also famous as the Google Chrome OS shelf) has learned a few new tricks over time, but the desktop itself has remained woefully bare and devoid of advanced features since its inception.
It's a stark contrast to Android, where the home screen is a multipurpose panel for handfuls of apps and interactive widgets. Widgets, in particular, have the potential to make much essential information easily available, and they would be just as useful for setting up Google Chrome OS even more for productivity.
But despite my wishes and summons from magical spirits of virtual genius, Google hasn't yet granted us the ability to put widgets on the desktop of a Chromebook. (Stunning, I know. I'm beginning to wonder if my wizarding powers aren't as powerful as I've been led to believe.) You can install Android apps on a Chromebook, sure, plus widgets? No. Fuhgeddabout. It's not going to happen, Horatio.
Or at least you would think so. Google may not officially accept Android widgets on Google Chrome OS right now, but with a bit of creative tweaking, you can create a custom dashboard with each and every widget you want and then make them all free from anywhere on your site. Chromebook system. It's essentially a productivity dashboard adapted from Google Chrome OS, and it's going to take you 4 minutes to set it up.
Here take a look: here's a Google Chrome OS widget panel I put together in just a few moments, with widgets that show my Gmail inbox, a Google Calendar monthly view, a Todoist to-do list, and a Google Keep notes compilation:
When you accomplish those things, good God, you're going to roll over and take care of business like, well, absolutely no one. So put your knuckles down, grab a handful of cookies, and brace yourself: It's time to treat yourself to an awesome Chromebook upgrade.
The secret of the Google Chrome OS widget
First of all, to achieve this feat, you are going to have to take the secret ingredient in our weirdly greasy, spicy geeky stew recipe. It is an exquisite application called Taskbar, and while it's developed eminently for Android, it works exquisitely well on the Chromebook side. With what goes on, so be it by the dedicated Google Play Store app on your Chromebook or from the Google Play Store in your browser, and load it onto your awesome little system.
(The labor bar is free, by the way, and does not require permission to raise your eyebrows to march. With what you go on, my brave scout, go on with enthusiasm).
With the taskbar in place on your Chromebook, open the app and you'll find yourself looking at its settings screen. There are some adjustments we need to make in order for things to work as they should, so stick with me and be patient; I promise we'll get to the good part soon.
Accordingly, start by clicking or tapping on the "General Settings" section and the menu that appears:
- Select "Screen situation" and change it to "Bottom left (vertical)".
- Check the box "Other situation for the reduction button".
Now click or tap the arrow in the upper left corner of the screen to return to the primary settings area. Choose "Advanced Features", then:
- Check the box next to "Replace home screen" and follow the steps to let the app show up in other apps. The task bar needs this permission to go to the desktop of your Chromebook and appear on top of other apps you use. There is no real danger involved.
- Once you have granted permission, return to the "Advanced Features" menu. You will probably need to check the box next to "Replace startup screen" again in order for this to be done.
- Then check the box next to "Enable widget support."
- Finally, choose "Widget Dashboard Grid Size" and change it to 2 × 2. (You can go back and play with this later if you want, but this setting seems to me the most convenient for the Google Chrome OS environment. It divides the widget panel screen into rooms and leaves room for 4 different widgets with enough space. so that they spread out and breathe).
Now take a deep breath of your own, we're almost done! Click or tap the arrow in the upper left corner of the screen to return to the main taskbar configuration area again. There's only one thing left to do for this initial essential part of our setup, and that's one important thing: Click or tap the switch in the top right corner of this setup screen and toggle it to the on position. This is what will actually activate the application. (I told you this was essential!) You'll likely see a message asking if you want to give any permissions to include recent apps in the tool; I'd suggest clicking 'Override' and also ignoring that for now, as it's really not accurate, and will just add ancillary clutter to the interface for our current needs.
And that, my friend who loves efficiency, that's it. You should now see the taskbar interface just above the circular launcher icon in the bottom left corner of the screen, and it's ready to set up your Google Chrome OS custom widget panel with any and all wuvely widgets you want. (And to be clear, by the way, "wuvely" isn't a typo. It's the word "captivating," as Elmer Fudd put it with an accent.)
Customizing the widget panel on your Chromebook
¡Hey you did it! This is the funniest part! Give yourself a pat on the back, then stop nagging and do this already.
First, to open your productivity panel, click or tap the arrow on the launcher icon, exactly the same one we saw a second ago.
Yes, that's it, intelligent and capable sea creature. When you click on that bad boy, you should see an expanded bar with a square-shaped icon showing 6 little rectangles inside. Watch?
Click on it and bam: here is your control panel. It will appear on everything you have open, even if it's on your desktop Google Chrome OS with no features, in a browser window, or in any number of Chromebook-enabled apps. Naturally, it's empty now, which isn't particularly helpful. Whatever we fix this with, okay?
Hover over one of the 4 quadrants of your screen, or tap one of them once, if you're using a Chromebook without a keyboard to hand, and you should see the words “Click to add a widget”. Can you guess what we are going to do now?
Yeah, oh yeah: click or tap on that area, and damn it jumping jackalope: like this, You'll see a simple widget selection interface appear right in front of your overly wet eyes.
Choose the widget you want, follow the steps to configure it according to your needs, and before you know it, you'll see a very elegant interactive widget, right on your old, clean Chromebook.
And remember: as with a widget on Android, you can scroll up or down, depending on the media, and touch any active area to go directly to the associated element. You can crowd all 4 squares and have a multitude of free and on-demand widgets, including one of my top Android widget recommendations, if you're looking for inspiration, or you can keep it simple. And simply add one or two elements to the mix. Also remember that you can always go back and adjust the "Widget Control Panel Grid Size" setting from a minute ago to play with the amount of free seats (and thus also the space that each they of them can occupy).
A handful of other things to consider before the end of the day:
- Whenever you want to access your widgets, simply follow the exact same steps above and click or tap that little arrow to show the full task bar, if necessary, then click or tap the square grid icon to widgets appear.
- When you click or touch this square grid icon a second time, the panel will disappear; clicking or pressing the arrow icon again will reduce the bar.
- When the bar is expanded, you can also click or tap the circular icon in this area to quickly view and access the Android applications installed on your Chromebook. That is not the most essential benefit of this setup, if you ask me, but it is an interesting extra touch that is there and worth considering.
- If you want to remove a widget from your dashboard, double-click it or hold it down with your finger (as long as you have a Chromebook with a touchscreen, that is, it won't just make it stain the screen and make you feel like an idiot).
- You will need to manually open the taskbar app once every time you restart your Chromebook in order for it to work. The application has an alternative in its configuration to start automatically when it starts, but it does not seem to work in the environment of Google Chrome OS. It is a minor auxiliary step, but painless enough to do it. You can even pin the app to the taskbar area to help you recall and hold it with just one click or tap.
And that, my dear, is all there is to it. All that's left is widget absent with abandon, dammit! – and leave everyone around you wondering how on the planet you get this genius-level virtual magic.
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