Google to Finally Document Chrome OS Updates

While Google has always been pretty transparent about Chrome updates, it’s been less so about Chrome OS. That’s changing.

For those unfamiliar, Chrome OS is updated on the same 6-week schedule as Chrome, and, yes, there is an open-source Chromium OS project that provides its underpinnings, just as Chromium does for Chrome. To date, Google has handled documenting each Chrome OS release similarly to how it does so for its browser: It provides a little bit of information ahead of time and then starts discussing big new end-user features after the fact.

The problem, of course, is that Chrome OS is an operating system. And when users are prompted once every six weeks to reboot the machine and install an update, Google has never explained the changes that necessitated the interruption.

Technical users and developers have always been able to find out about some changes from the Chromium Blog, which covers Chrome (across all platforms) as well as Chrome OS. Likewise, the Chrome Releases blog simply documents each release across the various release channels. And those posts sometimes link to information that end-users might actually find useful. For example, Google documented the recent release of Chrome OS 76, which adds Automatic Clicks, new media controls, and the ability to manage multiple Google accounts from a Chromebook.

But now, Google is going to be more proactive in alerting Chromebook users about the changes in each release. It has created a new Release Notes PWA (Progressive Web App) that will appear when you sign-in to Chrome OS after a release update. This document will also be available via the About page in Chrome OS Settings if you wish to view it at a later time.

The Chrome OS Release Notes news was first reported by Chrome Story. And you can find the first version of the Release Notes document here.

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Conversation 15 comments

  • skane2600

    14 August, 2019 - 11:03 am

    <p>I didn't realize that Chromebooks had to be rebooted after an update in a Windows-like way.</p>

    • dontbeevil

      14 August, 2019 - 11:47 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#449260">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>but but windows sucks you have to reboot it … oh wait</p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        14 August, 2019 - 1:36 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#449264">In reply to dontbeevil:</a></em></blockquote><p>The problem with Windows 10 is that you have to reboot so frequently. </p>

        • wright_is

          Premium Member
          15 August, 2019 - 5:45 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#449283">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>Once a month, as opposed to every 6 weeks? I rebooted my main desktop yesterday, after the updates arrived, the same with my work laptop, for my desktop that was the first reboot in a month, my work laptop gets shutdown at the weekend, otherwise they go into hybernate mode.</p>

          • Ron Diaz

            15 August, 2019 - 11:08 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#449398">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>According to my math that is 50% less often. I would not consider that insignificant…</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      14 August, 2019 - 1:37 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#449260">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>All operating systems have to be rebooted for big system updates. It happens much less frequently on Chromebook and reboots more quickly when it does. </p>

    • Tony Barrett

      14 August, 2019 - 3:14 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#449260">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>When you update ChromeOS, it's the second copy stored on the disk that get's updated, and when it's done you reboot to that new version. Even on my 5 year old ChromeBook (which still flies), it takes around 10s from clicking reboot to being back at the logon screen. We were testing the latest Aug 19 patches on a Windows 10 client today – 65 mins from clicking reboot to getting back to the logon screen!</p>

      • skane2600

        14 August, 2019 - 4:52 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#449295">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, all that useful stuff that Chromebooks don't include makes the reboot time shorter.</p>

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        15 August, 2019 - 5:47 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#449295">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>My desktop rebooted with the August patches in under 1 minute, my home laptop and work laptop were also both under 1 minute.</p>

        • Ron Diaz

          15 August, 2019 - 11:10 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#449400">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>You are comparing a high end PC with a low end Chromebook. And the Chromebook is still significantly faster…</p>

          • skane2600

            15 August, 2019 - 12:18 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#449533">In reply to Hypnotoad:</a></em></blockquote><p>My dishwasher reboots even faster on power-up, but like the Chromebook, I can't run Win32 programs on it. The point is that it makes sense for a less capable device to boot up faster, but it's not evidence of superiority unless reboot time is a key priority.</p>

            • Ron Diaz

              15 August, 2019 - 12:36 pm

              <blockquote><em><a href="#449583">In reply to skane2600:</a></em></blockquote><p>Kind of a ridiculous argument. If you need Win32 programs you need Windows. But for people that don’t need Win32 compatibility Windows is not the best option.</p>

              • skane2600

                15 August, 2019 - 1:03 pm

                <blockquote><em><a href="#449588">In reply to Hypnotoad:</a></em></blockquote><p>So if you need Windows, what relevance does Chromebook's boot time have? </p>

          • wright_is

            Premium Member
            15 August, 2019 - 3:29 pm

            <blockquote><em><a href="#449533">In reply to Hypnotoad:</a></em></blockquote><p>A 2016 Core i5 laptop, at work Core i3. </p>

          • wright_is

            Premium Member
            16 August, 2019 - 12:36 am

            <blockquote><em><a href="#449533">In reply to Hypnotoad:</a></em></blockquote><p>And, on the other hand, what is less than 60 seconds of interruption once a month (mostly a self-reboot outside the normal usage time)? It is hardly an inconvinience.</p><p>Also, my smartphone takes much longer to start up than my PC…</p>


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