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Wave hello to gesture navigation on Chrome OS

Chrome OS 80 has appeared in the beta channel, bringing with it a host of new features that could improve your tablet, including a new gesture-based navigation system.

Anyone familiar with Android 10 or the touch-based system of an iPad should recognise the gestures.

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To navigate to the home page, you just need to swipe up from the bottom. Swiping from left to right will take you back to whatever you were looking at previously. And you can get to an overview page by swiping up and holding the screen.

Anyone on a tablet can also quickly navigate to the apps bar by doing a slow, mini-swipe from the bottom of your device.

The news comes from Android Police, which has also created a video to showing the new controls in action.

When Chrome OS first cropped up on tablets, most people were unimpressed. The system had been designed primarily for laptops, so the user interface on Chrome OS tablets felt clunky.

Reviewing the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 back in 2018, we noted that “the absence of any kind of physical controls here – or any kind of escape rope that will quickly take you back to the homescreen – makes the Tab 10 pretty unwelcoming to newcomers.”

It looks like this is set to change as Chrome OS becomes more tablet friendly. Google is also trying out a multiple quick settings pages on the OS 80 beta, which should make Chrome OS gadgets easier to navigate.

Although it’s worth noting that these new features could be changed – or dropped – before the final version of the new software gets a full launch.

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Google said back in 2017 that it wouldn’t merge Chrome OS and Android, but the two systems are definitely growing closer. These new Chrome OS features have been stolen from the touch-based Android navigation system, so it’s possible we’ll see a close alignment of the two systems in the future.

To try out the new options on the beta channel, navigate to the Settings menu on your Chromebook, click ‘About Chrome,’ then switch the current channel to Beta.