Google Details New Features in Chrome OS 76

Posted on August 15, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Chrome OS, Chromebook with 10 Comments

In keeping with its pledge to keep Chrome OS users better informed about the updates it supplies, Google today discussed Chrome OS 76.

“Every Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, which updates every six weeks to keep your device speedy, smart and secure,” Google’s Alexander Kuscher writes. “Each Chrome OS update happens in the background, without interrupting what you’re doing.”

Here’s what’s new in the latest release of Chrome OS.

New media controls. The new media controls let you pause or play sound from a tab or an app using the updated system menu, which provides a list of these open items and looks (and works) similarly to the notification shade in Android.

Updated camera app. Chrome OS’s camera app has been updated with a new interface for navigating between shooting modes. And it works in portrait mode on the Pixel Slate now and, soon, on other Chromebooks.

Easier notification management. With the proliferation of Android apps on Chrome OS, managing notifications is becoming a problem. So the system menu now supports a “Clear all” button so you can dismiss all notifications at once, as you can do on Android.

Google says it will continue providing these updates each time a new version of Chrome OS is released.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “Google Details New Features in Chrome OS 76”

  1. MikeGalos

    Both users were pleased.

  2. lvthunder

    Thank goodness Microsoft doesn't update Windows on that schedule.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to lvthunder:

      The schedule works for Chrome OS because it doesn't try to update itself while its running. It uses 3 separate partitions for different versions of the OS. As you're running the, er, expiring versions from one partition, the background update daemon is replacing an older version on another partition. You have to reboot to update, and when the reboot process reaches run level 1 (single user, single tasking, no networking), it changes the system configuration to use the partition with the updated OS image. Then the machine cycles and reboots using the new version.

      Windows updates are far more difficult because MSFT tries to perform them while Windows is running.

      The obvious analogy is changing a tire while a car is parked vs changing a tire while a car is on a tilt running on 2 tires.

  3. clhodappp

    > Each Chrome OS update happens in the background, without interrupting what you’re doing.

    Except the part where, you know, you have to reboot.

    I get that it's true that most of the work of installing the update can happen in the background but that doesn't change the fact that waiting for a few seconds, having to retype your password, and having all your windows be refreshed (possibly losing context) is pretty much the platonic ideal of a minor interruption.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to clhodappp:

      In fairness, Windows version upgrades also require rebooting, and they take the better part of an hour.

      Since this now happens twice a year, Chrome OS's 6-week updates take less time in aggregate for their reboots than Windows does over the course of a whole year. Every 6 weeks means 9 times a year. 9 x 10 seconds = 1.5 minutes; 2 x 15 minutes = 30 minutes. Looks like Chrome OS takes 1/20 the time in aggregate. As for recreating windows, that may matter a lot less for Chrome OS since it's browser-based.

  4. greatrexmark

    A comment on the premium comments said. "Windows updates are far more difficult because MSFT tries to perform them while Windows is running.

    The obvious analogy is changing a tire while a car is parked vs changing a tire while a car is on a tilt running on 2 tires."

    I think thats a good analogy, it made me wonder what are other experiences we've had? I have a Windows partition on my mac, I've never upgraded the hardware ( with the exception of an external SSD I run OSX from because I found the internal hard drive increasingly slow running osx.) Its still satisfactory for the limited uses I use it for. Mostly office, windows gaming and retro gaming, watching videos, internet, emails.

    But I've chosen a different method of upgrading windows, as I only use the windows side only for gaming I use it offline unless I need to connect to the internet for a game. This has minimized the updates, and I've gone from windows 7, windows 8, windows 10 v1703, to just recently v1903 using isos. I realise this might have security problems, so I have installed antivirus and i download updates from OSX and then apply them to windows offline. I've tried the online updates for windows and it makes my system feel so slow during and after the update. Even using the iso there have been multiple issues with drivers and software compatibilty I have had to resolve, I know I should upgrade the hardware, but I do want to get the longest use out of it. Any suggestions on anything I can do differently for security would be great. So what do others do for their windows updates?

    • Stooks

      In reply to greatrexmark:

      That sounds like a nightmare of a setup. Buy a new PC and let the updates run. Window defender is all the AV you need do not waste money on anything else.

      I have ave been running Windows 10 since it came out and I have never had an issue with any update and this is on many computers.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to greatrexmark: Are we talking Boot Camp (dual boot) or VM (Parallels...) ? Using Parallels I just periodically run Windows and update it online overnight, or some time I'm not needing the machine. Once a month seems adequate. Sometime within a week after patch Tues, or when a special update (usually security based) is announced.

  5. marciamarciaj

    So, here's what I don't get, my Chromebook is set up for automatic updates right, well how come I always have to update it myself? The same goes for my android apps on Google play, automatic updates is set, yet there not all updating automatically, this goes for my smartphone, as well as my Chromebook, any suggestions?

  6. ArvindV

    The list of features is not complete. 76 seems to be big update over all

    Virtual desktop, gpu for Linux app(some devices), manage Google multiple account in one place(account management), send to shelf, dark theme for website and more