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A clever way to bring widgets into Chrome OS

Some weeks, Chrome OS will get so many new options, it seems like we’re virtually drowning in possibilities. And man alive, is that ever a pleasant sensation (even with the metaphorical lack of oxygen).

One a part of the Chrome OS expertise that hasn’t modified a lot lately, although, is the desktop setting — y’know, the Chromebook’s exceptionally humble dwelling display. Certain, the taskbar space (a.okay.a. the Chrome OS shelf) has discovered a number of new tips over time, however the desktop itself has remained vexingly clean and free from superior capabilities ever since its inception.

That is a stark distinction to Android, the place the house display is an all-purpose panel for each app shortcuts and interactive widgets. Widgets particularly have the potential to make so much important info available, they usually’d be each bit as useful within the even extra productivity-oriented Chrome OS setup.

However regardless of all my wishing and summoning of magic virtual-genie spirits, Google has but to grant us the flexibility to position widgets on a Chromebook’s desktop. (It is astonishing, I do know. I am beginning to surprise if my sorcery powers aren’t as potent as I have been led to consider.) You possibly can set up Android apps on a Chromebook, after all, however widgets? Nope. Fuhgeddaboutit. Not gonna occur, Horatio.

Or so you’ll assume. Google could not formally assist Android widgets on Chrome OS as of now, however with somewhat artistic tinkering, you may construct your self a customized panel crammed with any widgets you need after which make ’em all accessible from wherever in your Chromebook system. It is a customized Chrome OS productiveness dashboard, basically, and it will take you all of 4 minutes to arrange.

Right here, look — here is a Chrome OS widget panel I plopped collectively in a matter of moments simply now, with widgets displaying my Gmail inbox, a Google Calendar month-to-month view, a Todoist process checklist, and a Google Hold notes assortment:

Chrome OS Widgets (1) JR

When you get this factor goin’, my goodness, you are gonna be zippin’ round and takin’ care of enterprise like, effectively, no person’s enterprise. So crack these phalanges, seize your self a fistful of crackers, and prepare: It is time to deal with your self to at least one heck of a Chromebook improve.

The Chrome OS widget secret

First issues first, to drag this feat off, you may have to snag the key ingredient in our zesty and suspiciously greasy geek-stew recipe. It is an appetizing app known as Taskbar, and whereas it is primarily designed for Android, it really works deliciously effectively on the Chromebook aspect of issues. So go get it — both by way of the devoted Play Retailer app in your Chromebook or from the Play Retailer in your browser — and get it loaded up onto that gorgeous little system of yours.

(Taskbar is free, by the best way, and it would not require any eyebrow-raising permissions as a way to function. So cost ahead, my fellow courageous explorer — cost ahead with gusto.)

As soon as Taskbar’s in place in your Chromebook, open the app up, and you will find your self gazing its configuration display. There are a number of changes we have to make as a way to have issues working the best way they need to, so follow me and keep affected person; I promise we’ll get to the great half quickly.

Okay — begin by clicking or tapping the “Common settings” part, and on the menu that comes up:

  1. Choose “Place on display” and alter it to “Backside left (vertical).”
  2. Test the field subsequent to “Different place for collapse button.”

Now, click on or faucet the arrow within the upper-left nook of the display to get again to the primary settings space. Choose “Superior options,” after which:

  1. Test the field subsequent to “Substitute dwelling display” and comply with the steps to grant the app permission to show over different apps. Taskbar wants that permission as a way to place itself in your Chromebook’s desktop and present up on high of different apps you are utilizing. There is no actual threat concerned.
  2. As soon as you have granted the permission, make your means again to the “Superior options” menu. You will most likely should verify the field subsequent to “Substitute dwelling display” yet another time now to get it to take.
  3. Subsequent, verify the field subsequent to “Allow widget assist.”
  4. Final however not least, choose “Widget dashboard grid measurement” and alter it to 2×2. (You possibly can return and play with this later, in order for you, however this setting appears probably the most appropriate to the Chrome OS setting to me. It divides your widget-panel display into quarters and provides you house for 4 totally different widgets with loads of room for ’em to unfold out and breathe.)

Now, take a deep breath your self — we’re nearly achieved! Click on or faucet the arrow within the upper-left nook of the display to get again to the primary Taskbar settings space once more. There’s only one factor left to do for this preliminary foundational a part of our setup, and it is an necessary one: Click on or faucet the toggle within the upper-right nook of that settings display and flip it into the on place. That is what’ll really activate the applying. (I instructed you it was necessary!) You will most likely see a immediate asking if you wish to grant a sure permission as a way to embrace latest apps within the device; I might recommend clicking “Cancel” and ignoring that for now, because it’s actually not wanted, and it will simply add additional litter into the interface for our present functions.

And that, my efficiency-adoring amigo, is it. It’s best to now see the Taskbar interface proper above the round launcher icon within the lower-left nook of your display — and also you’re able to get your customized Chrome OS widget panel arrange with all of the wuvely widgets you need. (And to be clear, by the best way, “wuvely” is not a typo. It is the phrase “beautiful,” as mentioned with an Elmer Fudd accent.)

Customizing your Chromebook widget panel

Hey, you made it! That is the enjoyable half! Pat your self on the again, then cease screwing round and let’s get this factor achieved already.

First, to open up your productiveness dashboard, click on or faucet on the arrow above that launcher icon — the identical one we have been simply taking a look at a second in the past.

Chrome OS Widgets Arrow JR

Yup — that is the one, you sensible and succesful sea creature. When you click on that dangerous boy, it’s best to see an expanded bar with a square-shaped icon displaying six small rectangles inside it. See?

Chrome OS Widgets Icon JR

Click on that, and bam: There’s your dashboard. It will pop up atop anything you have obtained open, whether or not it is your function-free Chrome OS desktop, a browser window, or any number of Chromebook-compatible apps. In fact, it is clean proper now, which is not particularly helpful. So let’s repair that, we could?

Hover your mouse over any of the 4 quadrants of your display — or faucet your finger onto any of ’em as soon as, in the event you’re utilizing a Chromebook with out a keyboard helpful — and it’s best to see the phrases “Click on so as to add widget” seem. Are you able to guess what we’re gonna do subsequent?

Sure, oh sure: Click on or faucet onto that very space, and holy jumpin’ jackalopes: Identical to that, you may see a easy widget choice interface seem proper in entrance of your overly moist eyeballs.

Chrome OS Widget Selector JR

Select any widget you need, comply with the steps to configure it as wanted, and earlier than you realize it, you may be gazing a elaborate interactive widget — proper in your crusty ol’ Chromebook.

Chrome OS Widget Added JR

And keep in mind: Identical to with a widget on Android, you may scroll up or down in it, as supported, and faucet any lively space of it to leap on to the associated component. You possibly can refill all 4 spots and have quite a lot of widgets on demand and accessible — together with any of my high Android widget recommendations, in the event you’re searching for inspiration — or you may preserve issues easy and simply add one or two objects into the combo. Keep in mind, too, you could all the time return and regulate that “Widget dashboard grid measurement” setting from a minute in the past to mess around with what number of spots can be found (and thus additionally how a lot house every one in every of ’em is ready to take up).

A handful of different issues value noting earlier than we name it a day:

  • Anytime you need to entry your widgets, simply comply with the identical steps from above and click on or faucet that small arrow to disclose the complete Taskbar bar, if wanted, then click on or faucet the square-grid icon to make the widgets present up.
  • Clicking or tapping that square-grid icon a second time will make the panel go away; clicking or tapping the arrow icon once more will make the bar collapse.
  • When the bar is expanded, you may as well click on or faucet the round icon in that space to see and rapidly entry any Android apps which can be put in in your Chromebook. It isn’t probably the most vital good thing about this setup, in the event you ask me, however it’s an fascinating additional contact that is there and value holding in thoughts.
  • If you happen to ever need to take away a widget out of your panel, double-click it — or long-press it along with your finger (supplied you might have a Chromebook with a touch-screen, that’s; in any other case, you will not accomplish something greater than smudging up your show and making your self really feel foolish).
  • You will should manually open the Taskbar app as soon as each time you restart your Chromebook as a way to get it up and working. The app does have an choice in its settings to begin itself mechanically upon booting, however it would not appear to work within the Chrome OS setting. It is a minor additional step however a reasonably painless one to cope with. You might even pin the app to your taskbar space to assist your self keep in mind and preserve it a single click on or faucet away.

And that, my pricey, is all there may be to this. All that is left is to widget away — widget away with abandon, rattling it! — and depart everybody else round you questioning how on the planet you are making that virtual-genie-level magic occur.

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