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Google Added A New ChromeOS charge sound

What are the sound of ChromeOS? It’s an interesting question – because until recently, the operating system powering Chromebooks has been silent. Unlike Android or most other desktop operating systems, there have been no system sounds in ChromeOS: No noise when you empty the trash, when you move a file to a folder or adjust the volume.

However, that all changed in September 2023 with the addition of audible effects when you plug in a charging cable or when your battery drops too low. These could be just the first notes of many more to come. “A charger is something that’s used day in and day out, so the new sounds have the opportunity to become the basis of ChromeOS’s sound presence,” says Josh Ellis, a senior user experience (UX) sound designer. Additionally, these audio cues for charge levels can help blind and low-vision users by making it easier to gauge relative battery life without needing to check with a screen reader first.

Bringing ChromeOS to sonic life was a major effort, requiring collaboration between UX sound designers and software engineers. They had to craft and implement the unique sounds for ChromeOS’s charging in a way that works across a wide range of Chromebooks.

Before that, they had to decide: What should the operating system sound like? “From the beginning, I felt it was important to build on the existing foundation that we already have at Google, specifically the charging sounds for Pixel phones,” says Henry Daw, the senior UX sound designer who helped create the new charging sounds. “It’s this faded-in piano that plays a nice G major chord.”

In conclusion, the addition of sounds to ChromeOS promises to add an auditory dimension to the user experience, with the potential for more sounds to come in the future.

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