Heads up all Pixelbook Owners, ChromeOS 68.0.3431.0 is currently being pushed to those who are in the “dev” channel. It seems like Google has made several changes to the bottom dock (shelf) such as removing the Profile Photo, moving persistent notifications and allowing the ability to pin Linux applications to the shelf.
Pinning Applications to the Shelf
This is the most welcomed change since the Google brought Linux application support to ChromeOS via Project Crostini. You can finally pin Linux applications to the system shelf so you don’t need to hunt for them in the application launcher.
The process of pinning a Linux application to the system tray is exactly the same as you would use to pin a ChromeOS or Android application. Simply right-click on the icon and select “Pin to Shelf”. This was technically possible in previous versions of ChromeOS but the Linux applications would disappear between reboots – fortunately this works properly in this release. You can also pin the “Terminal” application which is very useful for developers and Linux junkies.
Google has implemented a few changes to simplify the bottom dock. This includes the removal of your profile photo and persistent application status icons (such as you may see with a VPN application). This is likely meant to simplify the shelf for future ChromeOS tablets. Note – These changes only impact those who have #enable-system-tray-unified enabled in chrome://flags
I am honestly not sure how I feel about this change as there was quite a bit of value in the status icons such as the ability to tell at a glace if you have an email or have an active VPN session running. You can click on the clock to look at notifications.
The latest update seems to correct a few visual issues that are present with the “Dark” Android P theme such as long WiFi Names causing text misalignment in the menu.
Sadly this update seems to completely break the Terminal App I mentioned above. You will need to enter the VM via command line by following the directions at https://kmyers.me/knowledge-base/accessing-your-project-crostini-virtual-machine/
Lastly the latest update does perform noticeably faster compared to the previous update which seemed to be much slower than I remember