Ambient mode gets a facelift with Chrome OS 85 update

The great thing about Chrome OS is that you can get from turning on your Chromebook to surfing the internet in less than 15 seconds. There is simply no other computer that can offer that sort of speed.

The reason for this is because Chrome OS is a super lightweight operating system, and quite frankly, we want it to stay that way.

The only problem with this is that we have a pretty dull experience when it comes to the desktop and login/lock page on your Chromebook. Add your own video to your avatar on your Chromebook login page.

Well, luckily this will change when your Chromebook receives the Chrome OS 85 update. We’re not talking big changes here but any change to make the Chromebook look a tad more, well, interesting when not in use will be a good thing.


If you’re unsure what ambient mode is, it’s the screen you see when you turn your Chromebook on. It’s also the screen you see when you lock your device.

It’s called ambient mode because this is what you get on your Google Nest Hub max when it’s sitting their idle. The difference is that on the Google Nest Hub Max you still see the time and it also shows a slideshow of default images provided by Google. Or you can create your own slideshow with your personal images.

At the moment when you lock your Chromebook all you see is something very similar to the image below. Yes, quite frankly, it looks utterly dull and boring.

Ambient mode to show time and weather widgets on Chrome OS 85 update

The update will bring the Chrome OS in line with other Google products. So you’ll be able to add a weather widget for example to your login/lock screen. Whether this is something you’ll have control over or it’s a get what you’re given; I’m not really sure.


What I’d really like to see is the ability to add widgets to your desktop. I know it’s all about keeping Chrome OS lightweight and fast, so any changes need to take that into consideration.

However, the desktop always feels like a complete waste of space, which could be utilised a lot more than it is at present. At the moment this is the desktop I’ve got on my Chromebox.

The Chromebook desktop
When will widgets be available for the Chrome OS desktop?

I’m not talking about adding icons to your desktop, which can if overused look pretty ugly. It would be nice though to add some widgets such as weather or local news.

I no doubt this is something that Google has looked at. Again, it’s all about improving Chrome OS over time without sacrificing security and speed.

The thing is though, as Chrome OS gets more and more popular. These sort of extras is what people will be looking for. Let’s hope widgets for the desktop is something we’ll see in the future.

If the new ambient mode is something you’ve been waiting for. Then you’ll have to wait until at least August 2020, which is the date when Chrome OS 85 will be rolled out to Chromebooks that still receive updates.