Chromium code points to Project Athena, a new interface with improved touch functionality

June 13, 2014
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LG ChromeBase Chrome OS CES 2014 AA-3

It seems that the Greek gods are awfully busy as of late. First, we heard about Project Hera earlier this year, which was rumored to bridge search, Chrome and Android in a few different ways. Now it seems that Chrome OS also has some Greek gods stirring potential changes into the mix. According to a report from GigaOM, there are dozens of code references in the Chromium issue tracker that point to something called Project Athena.

Piecing these various references together, it seems that the project is a next-gen evolution (and/or full replacement) of Chrome OS’ Ash window manager. At least one Chromium entry also points to something called Ares, which will reportedly “be the home/launcher screen in Athena as well as the launcher for Ash.”

While it’s hard to say for sure how Athena will change things for Chrome OS, many of the code references and entries point to improved touch integration. This includes the addition of touch-friendly gestures such as dragging up from the bottom edge for an overview mode and activating a split-screen mode when dragging right from the left edge.

Project Athena looks to be a next-gen evolution of Chrome OS' existing Ash window manager

We know what you’re thinking, improved touchscreen integration could mean that Google finally has plans from Chrome-powered tablets and possible smartphones. That’s certainly a possibility, though it’s just as likely that Google is merely trying to improve the touchscreen laptop experience on its Chromebooks while retaining its Ash window managers for devices without touch support.

Project Athena is also likely about more than just improved touchscreen integration, and considering Hera’s rumored functions, it’s not unreasonable to think that Athena could help bridge the gap between search, Android and Chrome in a similar manner. Of course, that’s really just speculation on our part.

The big takeaway here is that Google has plans to switch things up for Chrome OS, and these plans seem to be centered around a more touch-optimized future. What do you think, like the idea of touchscreen laptops and possibly even ChromeTabs?

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