Google’s Chrome OS and the Chromebooks on which it runs turn 10 years old today, and the company is announcing some new features to celebrate.
“In 2011 we launched the first Chromebooks in partnership with Acer and Samsung,” Google’s John Maletis writes. “Today Chromebooks help millions of people stay connected while they work, study and stay entertained … [and] we work with several important partners—Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, AMD, Intel, MediaTek, Qualcomm, among others—to make Chromebooks of all shapes and sizes, and collaborate with over 20 Works With Chromebook partners like Anker and Logitech on compatible accessories so you can get the most out of your Chromebook.”
To celebrate the anniversary, Google is announcing the following new features:
Phone Hub. This new control center brings key capabilities from an Android phone to a Chromebook. You can sent and receive text messages, check the phone’s battery life and cellular signal, turn on its hotspot, and locate it, right from a Chromebook. Phone Hub also shows the Chrome browser tabs you last opened on your Android phone, so you can pick up where you left off.
Wi-Fi Sync improvements. Wi-Fi Sync now works with more devices. You now automatically connect to trusted Wi-Fi networks you’ve used on your Android phone and other Chrome OS devices when signed in with the same Google Account, with no need to enter credentials again.
Screen Capture. This new tool is available in Quick Settings and it lets you take screenshots and screen recordings without needing to remember keyboard shortcuts. “Once you take a screen capture, it’ll instantly show up in Tote, a new space that keeps important files right at your fingertips,” Maletis says. “Open Tote from your Shelf and you’ll see all your recent downloads, recent screen captures, and pinned files.”
New media controls. There are now media controls in the Quick Settings menu, so you can easily play, pause, or skip to the next song that’s playing from the web or an Android app. It can also be pinned to your Shelf for even quicker access.
Streamlined Chromebook Setup for parents and guardians. Now, when parents set up a new Chromebook using their child’s Family Link-managed personal Google account, they can immediately add a school account. “Their child can then use school apps like Google Classroom while Family Link controls on their device still apply, so parents can supervise while they do homework,” Maletis says. “They can also assist their child in creating a PIN during setup, so signing in to their Chromebook is easier.”
Clipboard. This new feature lets you save the last five items you copied to the clipboard. Just press the Everything Button + V to use the Clipboard.
Quick Answers. This feature automatically offers helpful information like a definition, a translation or unit conversion when you right-click a word without needing to open a separate tab to search for the answer.
Desks improvements. The Desks feature has been enhanced with new organizational features. All your windows will restore to their previous desks when you reboot the Chromebook. You can right-click the top of a window to send it directly to one or all desks. And you can swipe across your trackpad with four fingers to switch between desks.
Simpler sharing. You can now share files, images, and links between apps using fewer steps.
Select-to-speak improvements. Share-to-speak lets you hear text read out loud, and now it has new controls that let you speed up, slow down, and pause the reading voice in real-time, and jump to different sections of text.
Refreshed icons. The icons for Chromebook’s built-in apps have a fresh new look, helping you find essential apps Canvas and Explore more easily.