Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority
- Google has given Chrome OS a wave of new features in sync with its 10th birthday.
- A Phone Hub helps you control your Android phone, while new features give you quick access to files, music and setting up a Chromebook for kids.
- You’ll also find improved Wi-Fi Sync, a new Screen Capture tool, and an enhanced clipboard.
Believe it or not, Chromebooks are now 10 years old — and Google is marking the occasion with a major Chrome OS update that delivers several welcome features.
The update chiefly focuses on syncing Chrome OS with your other devices. A new Phone Hub (pictured below) offers control over key aspects of your Android phone, including text messages, the hotspot and recent Chrome tabs. An expanded Wi-Fi Sync brings automatic trusted connections to more devices, and an upcoming expansion of Nearby Share will quickly send files to and from Android and Chrome OS machines.
Other additions center on speed. The Chrome OS update adds a Tote space that provides fast access to important files. Media controls are now built into the Quick Settings menu. And if you’re setting up a Chromebook for remote learning, a “streamlined” setup process helps you quickly add a school account.
More? A new Screen Capture tool in the update grabs stills and video recordings of Chrome OS without needing shortcuts. The enhanced clipboard saves the last five items you copied. Desks (virtual desktops) now restore all windows to their appropriate spaces after a reboot, and Quick Answers provides definitions, translations and other helpful info when you right-click a word.
See also: The best Chromebooks under $300
File and sharing should take fewer steps, while select-to-speak text reading lets you pause or adjust the reading speed to make sure you catch an important phrase. New icons will help you find Chrome OS’ included apps.
Most of the features from the update will be available shortly as Chrome OS 89 rolls out over a few weeks, although the improved Nearby Share is only due in the “coming months.” These likely won’t get you to ditch your Windows PC or Mac, but they should help your Chromebook fit in with the rest of your devices.
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