Personalization hub adds automatic light and dark wallpaper switching

Google has been hard at work getting its new Chrome OS Personalization Hub ready for public release. While it’s not quite there yet, I wanted to continue our coverage as we explore it on Chrome OS Canary, and let you know what’s in the works. I discovered some interesting additions, so let’s take a look!

First, by visiting the personalization app (right-clicking on the wallpaper and choosing “personalize” – that’s where the “wallpaper was”), you’ll come across now a completely redesigned interface that displays light and dark modes, as well as an “auto” option (presumably based on time of day), a wallpaper picker, an account picture picker, a account management shortcut and your new animated screensaver options, which we’ll talk about in a bit.

Opening the wallpaper picker and then choosing the “Elements” collection now presents Canary users with an interesting visual representation of these light and dark mode wallpapers that Google has made available. Check it out below – each example is split down the middle to show both light and dark. At first I didn’t think about it and just selected one half or the other based on my preference, but then with a selection I changed my Chromebook between light mode and dark mode to using the quick settings toggle.

In doing so, I had a pleasant surprise! As you can see in the video below, the wallpaper intelligently adjusts to be light or dark themed based on system settings, similar to what happens on macOS devices under the same circumstances ( or at least that’s what my mac friend and fellow writer Johanna tells me).

Also, by opening the Personalization Center and selecting the “Screen Saver” option on the right side of the window, you will now have the option for Google Photo albums as your primary source. We knew it was on the way, but here it is in action right below – it’s finally being integrated and working perfectly! I removed the names from most of these albums, but you get the picture.

What’s really nice is that when combined with the new Lottie-based screensaver dev flag that we recently reviewed for the first time, your Google Photos fill out those bland, stored images in pinned polaroids. The pictures below are of my son, and they change every few seconds based on all the different Google Photos albums I’ve selected in the screensaver settings – cool!

Finally, Google Photos integration is up and running in the wallpaper picker – sort of. After a few minutes, the thumbnail to the right of “My Pictures” finally loaded, and it allowed me to choose virtually any Google photo I’ve ever taken and uploaded directly from the Personalization Center.

Many thumbnails remain broken for now, however, and there’s no album selection view here, just a near-endless stream of photos separated only by date. Basically, it looks like your Google Photos library home tab is built right into this screen, but hopefully before it’s officially released, it adds or swaps to an album view or lets you choose between an album selection and recently taken standalone photos.

One thing’s for sure, this whole customization hub is going pretty well, and sooner rather than later we can all ditch the Google Drive “Wallpapers” folder we saved in our Files app for a quick pick in favor of this new direct connection to Google Photos. Let me know in the comments what you think of the new light and dark mode auto-switching wallpaper, Google Photos screensaver Polaroids, and Google Photos integration with the background picker screen!

Congratulation to C2 Productions on Twitter

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