Chrome OS is Testing Android-like Lock Screen Notifications
In recent months, Chrome OS has significantly expanded its feature set. By adding features ranging from a floating keyboard to split screen in tablet mode to a display size slider, the operating system is getting more optimized for touchscreen use. Just recently, we saw a commit that allowed us to see that Google Chrome’s top bar was getting touch optimized in preparation for Chrome OS tablets, which are expected to launch in the near future. The operating system itself is now getting increasingly versatile as it borrows from Android’s functionality.
In fact, one trend that is quite clear now is that Chrome OS is borrowing features from Android. Things like inline replies in notifications were first added to Android in Android Nougat, but are making their way to Chrome OS now. Similarly, Android has had split screen mode since Nougat, but Chrome OS will get split screen for Android apps in the upcoming Chrome 66. In general, Google is preparing Chrome OS to replace Android as a tablet operating system, but there is still some way to go for that goal to be achieved.
Now, we have discovered a commit in the Chromium Gerrit that shows that Chrome OS is testing lock screen notifications. This is yet another feature that is being borrowed from Android in Chrome OS. Android has had support for lock screen notifications since Android Lollipop and they are useful for managing notifications without having to unlock the device.
Commit number 939223 is titled: “Show Message Center on lock screen behind flag”. It adds a new flag: enable-lock-screen-notification. When this commit is merged, the flag will be accessible at chrome://flags/#enable-lock-screen-notification. When users enable the flag, they will be able to see Message Center with notifications on the lock screen for the selected user.
The commit notes that the difference between Message Center on the lock screen and Message Center on the non-locked screen is that the lock screen Message Center does not have a settings button.
The addition of lock screen notifications to Chrome OS is a welcome step as it brings the operating system a step closer to feature parity with Android. It’s still early days for the feature because even when the commit is merged, it will live behind a flag. If it works well, Google may decide to enable it for Chrome OS users (particularly for users of touchscreen devices) in the stable channel in the future.