The schizophrenic world of Windows 8 and the Chrome desktop

So most tech journalists have been reporting en masse about Google's new 'trojan horse' on Windows, the Chrome desktop/launcher (does this thing have an official name?)

Chromeoswin89_1020_verge_super_wide_medium

via cdn2.sbnation.com

http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/5/4806562/google-building-chrome-os-into-windows-8

Start the latest version of Chrome on Windows 8.1 in Windows 8 mode now presents you with a full Chrome OS style launcher and task bar adorned with your Chrome apps.

I use 4 different types of apps on my Windows 8 machine;

1. Desktop apps e.g Visual Studio and various dev tools

2. Metro apps e.g Netflix

3. Chrome apps e.g Gmail, Drive, Calendar etc.

4. Regular web apps e.g theverge,com, my own web app

Now I could almost tolerate the (deliberately) lousy job Microsoft have done integrating regular desktop apps but now I have four.. FOUR individual app environments, each with their own multi-tasking workflow. It's so hilariously schizophrenic and a complete UX disaster. Microsoft are trying to put their old, unloved desktop apps in the corner. Google are doing the same with regular web apps which haven't elevated themselves to Chrome apps (you can't add regular web apps to the launcher without creating a Chrome app for it locally). Both are fighting with each other.

  • I have Windows 7 running with native apps on a taskbar, alt-tab to switch.
  • Windows 8 running with Metro apps on a start screen, corner gestures to switch
  • Chrome OS running with Chrome apps on a taskbar, click icon to switch
  • Chrome running with regular web apps pinned into browser tabs (yuck), click tab to switch

I'm not switching apps in Windows, I'm switching complete environments. I'm in Chrome OS, tap the top corner, now I'm in Windows 7. I have to think to myself now when I need an app, what sort of app is it, which keys am I pressing to get to it.. was I using Metro Netflix or the web app??

Google could've easily integrated Chrome/web apps neatly into the already existing (and quite good) Windows 8 workflow (you already can with a bit of shortcut jiggery pokery) but they chose to completely trample all over an already quite messy situation. Google, if I'm using Windows, that means I have Windows apps I need to use, you can't change that. I don't actually like that I use 90% web apps but am shackled to Windows because of the odd native app I need, but this doesn't mean you can have a sulk and create a new OS inside my existing one. It's ridiculous.