Chrome OS Gains Improved Tethering, Android Support, More

Posted on May 1, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Chromebook, Mobile, Chrome OS with 8 Comments

Chrome OS Gains Improved Tethering, Android Support, More

Google this past week announced the release of Chrome OS 66, which adds improvements to the system’s instant tethering support, Android app capabilities, and more.

“The Stable channel has been updated to 66.0.3359.137 (Platform version: 10452.74.0) for most Chrome OS devices,” the Google announcement notes. “This build contains a number of bug fixes and security updates.”

A few functional changes stand out.

First, Chrome OS’s instant tethering feature—called Magic Tether, I assume so Apple can’t use the name—has been extended to support more devices. This feature debuted first on Android. It lets a Chromebook or other Chrome OS device activate and then connect to a phone’s hotspot automatically. There’s no word on which devices are now supported, but this previously worked with Google-branded Pixel and Nexus handsets.

On the Android front, Chrome OS 66 adds screen sharing support for mobile apps, improvements to how maximized app windows work, and native printing support. There is also an opt-out choice on first login windows in apps and support for GDPR.

Here’s Google’s full list of the improvements in this release.

  • Adding new keyboard shortcut to move windows from display-to-display
  • New Chrome OS Keyboard Shortcut Helper
  • External Display Settings enhancements
  • Enable Video Recording in Chrome Camera App
  • Overview window animation improvements
  • Extending more devices support for Magic Tether
  • Picture in Picture Magnification
  • Ability to zoom up to 20x with Chrome OS magnifier
  • Ability to adjust full screen mag zoom level through pinch gesture
  • Screen sharing support for Android apps installed via the Google Play Store
  • Add Google Play into first login Opt-in window
  • Google Play GDPR support
  • Google Play Maximized Window support improvements
  • Automatically pass user credentials from Chrome OS login to network 802.1x authentication
  • Native printing support extended to Google Play applications
  • Add Sync notice during initial sign-in
  • Security fixes, including a final mitigation for Meltdown. Google notes that all Chrome OS devices are now protected against Meltdown.


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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Chrome OS Gains Improved Tethering, Android Support, More”

  1. djross95

    These are useful features, at first glance more so that the ones MS is adding to Windows in the April update. I'm strongly considering one of these for my next device--$400-500 for a mid-ranger is awfully tempting!

    • Yaggs

      In reply to djross95:

      I have a Samsung Chromebook Plus (one step down from the top end model)... it's OK... couldn't ever replace my SurfaceBook for daily use... but my kids like it. It's a really nice machine (pen and touch support, full 360 screen rotation) and can get the job done for simple tasks... but again... still no comparison to a normal PC. If you really want Android app support you can easily do that on Windows as well.

      • colmob

        In reply to Yaggs:

        Could you please elaborate on "easily do that on Windows" for Android app support? I've spent quite some time exploring that, and the solutions I've found are in two camps; very easy-to-use emulators running extremely outdated version of Android on which many apps don't work (e.g. Bluestacks); or the highly complex developer options like Android Studio on which I've tried and failed to get the play store working. Any pointers would be welcome!

  2. davidsmi

    I'm looking to buy a Chromebook for my son - how can I tell what "most Android devices" is?

  3. Nicholas Kathrein

    I have a Chromebook plus as well and it's great. It all comes down to what you need to do. This does a lot so I think most people it will be good. If you need to produce videos or do professional photo editing currently they can't do this but many of the Microsoft Office apps are great and all Googles Office apps work as you'd expect. I work IT in a company and specific administration only works in MS Edge for some reason so you can't really do all that on it. I think it's quite capable.

  4. chrisrut

    Lot's of "wow" stuff in there. It's getting really real...

  5. Samr

    Google should package up Chrome OS up like a Microsoft Windows ISO and allow people to install it easily on any old PC and laptop. The code is all available on Linux OS's.

    Take Microsoft on head on.

    MS are vulnerable to this sort of attack in my opinion.