Hosted Web apps, sites that are pinned as an application in Chrome OS or Chrome, may be getting a new look. According to OMG! Chrome, the change, which may come soon in a developer channel update for Chrome OS and the Chrome desktop browser, is intended to beautify icons for Web apps that don’t specify a favicon large enough to avoid being pixelated, especially in places like the Chrome OS taskbar (In case you were wondering, the favicon is the little picture next to the webpage title in the tab, or in the address bar of some other, older browsers).
The alternative icons work in a way that produces an image remarkably similar to the default profile avatar on Gmail for users who haven’t selected a profile picture for their Google account. If the site doesn’t have a nice, scalable icon, like apple-touch-icon (the attribute that makes a website bookmark look like an app on an iPhone or iPad), the new icon will seem formed by a rounded rectangle (or a squircle, if you want to call it that), filled with the dominant color of the favicon and stamped with the first letter of the icon title.
This ensures that all sites will have a high-resolution icon, even if they don’t have a quality icon of their own. Android may also employ this technique for homescreen shortcuts. It seems that the new system will not affect hosted apps that already provide Chrome with a high-quality icon, but for the ones that don’t, we don’t have to deal with pixelated icons for Chrome desktop shortcuts in Linux or Windows, or on the Chrome OS app launcher. It appears this information was provided to OMG! Chrome by Sebastien Gabriel, a designer for Google Chrome and Chrome OS, thought this was not clearly stated.
Source: OMG! Chrome
Image: Sebastien Gabriel