New Personalisation Hub and Animated Screensavers coming to the Chromebook

I’m really excited about the new personalisation hub that is coming to Chrome OS. Everyone loves to customise their Chromebook and this new hub will make it easier. Not only that, new features will be available such as animated screensavers.

I’ve taken a look at how it will look on my developer laptop and I’m really impressed with it. Firstly, it’s much easier to navigate because all customisation is now under one section or hub. This is much better than the current setup where you’ve got three different categories.

One of the biggest changes is the ability to add an animated screensaver, which is something not yet available. We only got access to a Chromebook screensaver a little over a year ago, so it’s great to see the team has been working on offering more with animated screensavers.

New Chrome OS customisation hub

At the moment you can only access the customisation hub in the developer channel. Once in the developer channel, you need to enable a flag. For most people, I would not recommend using the developer channel because it can be unstable. Also, when you come out of the developer channel you will lose any files on your Chromebook.

I’m unsure when this will be available as default. However, Once we reach either Chrome OS 101 or 102 in the stable channel. You will be able to use the new customisation hub by enabling a Chrome OS flag.

To do that you would need to open a new Chrome browser, and type in the address bar chrome://flags. You would then need to search for the flag, which is called Personalization Hub UI, and enable it.

New Chrome OS customisation Hub navigation

The first thing I noticed about the new customisation hub is how easy it is to navigate. Being able to navigate to different menus easily is really important. The current personalisation options are not the best for navigating, so I’m really happy they’ve put some time to ensure navigating the new hub is easier.

Chromebook customisation hub
You can access all the customisation options from one menu on your Chromebook

It’s very similar to how you have breadcrumbs on a website, which shows you exactly where you are. This is a much nicer way of presenting menus and knowing where you are is a huge advantage. It also makes it much easier to navigate to different areas of the menu without having to go back to the beginning.

The Chromebook avatar

Once you enter the new Chromebook customisation hub you have all the different options available. This is a much better way to display the options we have to customise our Chromebooks. The first option is the ability to change your avatar.

Your Chromebook avatar is the image that is used for your Google account. When you log in to your Chromebook you’ll see the avatar image appear. These are really useful to identify the different Google accounts that may be registered on your Chromebook.

Chromebook avatar menu
Chromebook avatar options

You can choose from the selection of ready-made avatars, which are really cool and I’m sure you’ll find one suitable. Most of these are animated, which is nice to see when you’re logging into your Chromebook in the morning.

You also have the option to take a picture from your webcam or to even create a very small animated video using your webcam. This is a really cool feature to add a little more customisation to your Chrome OS computer.

Chrome OS wallpaper

You can also change your Chromebook desktop wallpaper in the new hub. Another great way to customise your Chromebook. There are a lot more images available now on your Chromebook, which is great because I do like to change my wallpaper regularly.

The ability to change it so it automatically changes the picture on a daily basis is a great option. This saves you time and stop you from having to change the picture yourself.

There are lots of categories such as cityscapes, landscapes, collage and I’m sure you’d find one to suit your taste. You can also choose a solid colour if you prefer a more minimalist look on your Chromebook desktop.

You also have the option of choosing your own images. This is great if you’d prefer to see pictures of your family, pets or other photos that are important to you.

The new animated Chrome OS screensaver

Something you’ll find that is completely new is the ability to add an animated screensaver. At the moment you can add a screensaver to your Chromebook. However, this only currently uses the default images provided as standard. These images are also displayed statically on your screen.

The new animated screensaver options are much better. Animated screensavers is something that takes me back many years. I used to love playing around with the screensavers I had on my Windows PC back in the day.

animated screensaver on Chrome OS
The new animated screensaver options on your Chromebook

Although the customisation options are fairly limited. It’s still great to see we now have animated screensavers on the Chromebook. You can choose to use either the default images provided as standard. However, it’s a much better option to choose pictures from your Google photos. By doing this your own photos will be used when adding the animated screensaver.

There are currently two different animated screensavers available. This may increase in the future, and we may even have the ability to create our own wallpapers because it’s closely tied to Lottie.

Summary

I’m absolutely loving the new Customisation menu for the Chromebook. It not only provides more options such as the animated screensaver. It’s also much easier to navigate, which is really important.

Putting all the customisation options in one area is a cool idea. It’s much easier to see what you can customise and it’s all available in one simple to access hub. If you want to see what the new animated screensavers look like. Then watch the video above, which will show you them in action.

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