Google's Aura, the online giant's "hardware accelerated window manager," remains a mystery to most of the outside world, even according to Geek bloggers. Aura is described by Google as a user interface that will enable much richer visuals than the Chrome browser delivers today.
The part about the richer visuals and the ergonomics, we all understand. The rest of the jargon is another issue. To make it simple, the question is why should your computer interface be less user-friendly when you are online and possibly working via assorted synchronized mobile devices. Today, from that vantage point on the web you do not have the same aids to keep track of your multi-tasking that you do with your computer's operating system. And Google wants to change that for its own obvious reasons.
What they may not want to say with all their talk of hardware acceleration is they are creating an online experience more comparable to Windows, without being dependent on Microsoft applications.
For example, instead of merely opening to a browser window, Aura adds a functioning desktop, including a system tray, task bar, quick launch menu and resizable browser windows.
Similar to traditional operating system features, there is a shelf along the bottom of the screen that you can opt to show or hide when any screen is maximized, like a taskbar.
On the left-hand side of the Shelf are a handful of Google-specific shortcuts: the Chrome icon opens a new tab, and Gmail, Google search, Docs, and YouTube round out the list. Your open browser windows appear next, and the favicon for the currently active tab is displayed to remind you which session is which.
The main goal for Google is to depart from Gtk and a Microsoft-dependent user interface as well as Windows-specific elements that are causing headaches in the cross-platform code of Chrome. Well, there they go again. Aura is designed to work much more seamlessly across all platforms, including Mac and Linux. That much we can all understand.
The quick launch menu allows users to jump straight to Google calendar, email, search and other proprietary applications. Though a multitude of choices appear, Chrome remains the only application that can be used on your Chromebook, the laptop developed with the idea in mind that most of your time will be spent on the web..
Those users who are keeping up with the publicly available developer builds of Chromium recently got several new features in the browser. Most importantly, the chrome://net-internals page got a timeline feature that now paints a graph of incoming and outgoing data traffic. How's that for instant analysis, if not gratification? A graph of all input and input. You may not want for your boss to see it, though.
There is a new (and expected) flag for Pointer Lock, which hands over control of the mouse pointer to a web application and there is a nifty tab overview in chrome://sessions, which displays all open tabs - which is especially informative, if the live tab synching feature is enabled, and a user can see which tabs are opened on all synched devices.Chrome OS still opens the Chrome browser when it first boots-up, but there is a small, semi-transparent box in the upper right-hand corner that, when clicked, opens the new Aura home screen. That new screen shows any home pages you've set in the browser as well as any Chrome applets you've installed. It also gives the device a much more modern computing look and feel: Very Windows/Macish.