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Review: Google's Chrome OS Notebook

Dealing With Window and Tab Limitations

Also, the native applications that come pre-loaded on the Cr-48 do not appear in our desktop Chrome browsers unless we uninstalled the applications from the notebook and then reinstalled them. After that, the apps reappeared at the end of the listing on both our desktop browsers and on the Cr-48. The way it works is intentional: Google didn't want to suddenly inject a load of new applications on the desktop browser just because someone logged in to the Cr-48.

The view on the screen is a maximized browser at all times, allowing you to see only one tab at a time. Occasionally, Chrome OS allows for a "panel" window that appears on the bottom of the screen. If you've spent any time chatting with your friends inside Gmail, you'll have a good idea of how it looks. You can alter the size and order of the panels, but they'll always be anchored at the bottom of the screen. Unlike how this is done in the Chrome browser however, the panels stay visible even if you switch to another tab, which helps to mitigate the limitations of being forced to run in pure "maximized" view. Panels, however, can be minimized so that they stay hidden from view until they are moused over.

It is possible to open multiple Chrome windows at a time, each with its own set of tabs. This gives the option of having a window dedicated to just messaging, another one just to social networking, and one for documents and spreadsheets, or any way you choose to do it. Switching windows is done by using the dedicated key on the top row, or by alt-tab. The windows switch sequentially in that manner, but can also be switched to a specific order by using alt- and the number key associated with that window.

Because there's no way to label each window or easily tell how many are open, keeping things organized can be a mental exercise. We would appreciate if there was a way to zoom out to see a preview of all the windows open in a manner like Aero Peek or Expose. For this reason, it's usually easier to operate inside a single window with more tabs. Skipping from tab to tab is faster when using control-tab and the number associated to the tab order, as a shortcut.