The latest version of Chrome brings some exciting features to the table, for example, the way to know which tab is auto-playing audio or video. Another noticeable feature on Windows 8 is the new Chrome OS-styled desktop mode. This means that you can get a taste of the Chrome OS baked right into your Windows 8 system.

So how does this work? Well, you’d be surprised to know that switching to Chrome OS is a piece of cake. For some reason, Google doesn’t call this feature simply Chrome OS, but instead, the company calls it “Chrome in Windows 8 mode.” Now this is confusing, as a user won’t exactly know what this option does.

How to launch the Chrome OS-type interface on Windows 8

First, you’ll need to be running Chrome 32 on a Windows 8 or 8.1 PC, and Chrome should be set as your default browser in Windows. That’s because only your default browser can be used in Windows 8’s modern UI environment.

chrome-win8

To launch Chrome in its new avatar, open Chrome and click on the menu icon in the upper right corner, and then click on “Relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 mode.”

Within seconds, you’ll be able to see a Chrome OS-like interface, with desktop inside Windows 8’s modern UI. Here’s how Chrome will look like:

chrome-os

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll be able to see icons for a number of Google apps, such as Chrome, Gmail, Google, Google Docs and YouTube. At the far left, there’s an app launcher, much like the Start button, which can be used to launch any app. At the far right, there’s a digital clock.

You can use the Chrome browser and also Chrome apps, which are standalone programs that are built to run on Chrome, at the same time. These Chrome apps won’t look like as you’re running them on a browser window. Instead, they’ll look like any other desktop app that you’re running on Windows.

Just like Windows, Chrome OS also has minimize and maximize buttons at the upper right corner of the browser window. There’s also an option to snap the current window to the left or right of the screen so that you can fit something else on the remaining space. This is very useful when you want to focus on two things (or, say, websites) at once.

When you’re done with the Chrome desktop on Windows 8, you can leave that mode anytime. To do this, click on the menu button, and then click on “Relaunch Chrome on the desktop.”

So go ahead and try experimenting with this new feature of Chrome. It’s worth trying, especially if you ever wanted to get a taste of Google’s Chrome OS but never wanted to switch to a Chromebook.