Chrome OS and Android are closer than ever before – many Chromebooks, including the Google Pixelbook – can run Android apps just as well as a phone or tablet, and it looks like the desktop OS is about to borrow another feature from its mobile sibling.
Chrome Story spotted that notification badges are on their way to Chrome OS in the near future, based on some hunting around in recent code updates. The tiny badges were introduced in Android 8.0 Oreo as a way of showing which apps had pending notifications (something iOS has had for many years).
Chromebooks and Chromeboxes already feature an Android-style app drawer, so presumably these little dots will soon start showing up in there. The indication is that the badges would work for both Android apps and web apps inside Chrome OS.
A tale of two OSes
Further code comments indicate Chrome OS could also soon feature those shortcut menus that pop up when you long-press on an app icon in Android – so a list of frequently used contacts on the Messages app for example – although that’s less definite.
While it’s true that Android app integration on Chromebooks has come a long way in terms of usability in recent months, it’s still clunky in parts, such as when you’re trying to open a Play Store link and the OS isn’t sure if you want to see it in the Play Store app or on the Play Store website.
Still, it’s clear that Google isn’t finished combining these two OSes yet, even if they’ll never fully merge into one coherent whole. It’s possible that the mysterious Fuchsia OS will end up replacing both of them in the years to come.