To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the birth of the Chrome operating system, Google today announced a revision and launched a set of new tools to make the platform more practical.
It is worth noting that it adds a new clipboard that can remember the last five things you copied; a call center makes it easier for you to access your Android device, and supports “nearby sharing”.
Phone Hub is a small dashboard that allows you to access the controls of your phone and view its status to understand battery life and data connectivity. After misplacement, not only can you use a Chromebook to ring your Android device, you can also enable tethering with one click and view the nearest Chrome tab on your phone.
You will continue to be able to send and receive a text from your laptop and this can already be done before using the Messages app.
Two new features make life easier for people with Android and Chrome OS devices. First, WiFi sync allows you to automatically connect to the trusted network you use on your phone or other Chromebook without having to re-enter your password.
In the next few months, Nearly Share will make it possible to share files between your Chromebook and other Chrome OS or Android devices without the need for an internet connection or via Bluetooth or local WiFi.
Google has also enhanced the screen capture tool in Chrome OS to make it easier to access from the “Quick Settings” panel. Now you can precisely outline what you want to copy to the monitor and create a screen recording video, all videos will be saved to the clipboard.
Speaking of the clipboard, you can now store up to five things you have copied, and you can access them from the new “tote” feature. Except for the screenshots, this is the storage area for all the files you and Google think you need.
You can pin the files to your Tote for easy access, which should come in handy for frequently sent content such as checklists or reference tables.
As part of the redesign, Google will integrate media controls directly into the “Quick Settings” panel for easy access and refresh of built-in application icons. Sharing files, images, and links between apps and browsers has become slightly easier-now.
When you click share on a supported website, you will see a list of apps to which you can send the content directly. When you want to translate, define or convert something on the screen, right-clicking it will pop up “Quick Answers” in the panel, so you don’t need to open other tabs.
The company also updated the Desks function, added support for up to eight virtual workspaces, and introduced a new Overview mode to make it easier to switch between them. Now when your laptop restarts, the windows in each desktop will be restored, so you can quickly reset the workflow.
The Chrome OS screen reader “speak selection” feature has been improved, including options to pause, speed up, and slow down playback. Google also makes it easier to jump to different parts of the text.
Chromebooks are the most popular laptops in schools, and it’s great to see some useful updates on the platform. For those of us who use Windows and even those on macOS, some of these features seem more like Google bringing its desktop software closer to what we are familiar with.
For people who need powerful applications for work, Chrome OS may still not be a productivity ecosystem, but with these updates, it seems to be catching up.