Chromebook Turns 10

Posted on March 9, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Uncategorized with 14 Comments

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.

You can learn more about what’s new from the What’s new with Chromebook? website.

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (16)

16 responses to “Chromebook Turns 10”

  1. winner

    You can already/previously send and receive texts on your Chromebook, though, so not sure why that's listed as a new feature.

    • ringofvoid

      In reply to Winner:

      A phone icon is added to the shelf to integrate all the current phone controls there. From there you can enable your mobile hotspot, silence your ringer, locate your phone etc. So it's the existing features plus a few more from a new interface

  2. scovious

    Schools everywhere must be so proud.

  3. djross95

    MS better get a move on with Windows 10X, Chrome OS will be difficult to keep up with if they delay too much longer.

  4. cayo

    OK, so this will be the year of Chromebook. It was supposed to be the year of desktop Linux, but this is now delayed for another year. And a year after that we will have the 'post-PC' tablets year.

    • Paul Thurrott

      We're already in the post-PC world: More people use other types of personal computing devices than PCs, and by a wide margin. But PCs aren't going away.
  5. cayo

    In reply to blue77star:


    And yes, there is also a 'post-Chromebok year'. This is what kids experience when they graduate from high school and never touch a Chromebook again!

    • Paul Thurrott

      I love your certainty. But I suspect that Chromebook usage only continues to grow, and that will happen in businesses as well as with individuals who choose this solution explicitly for its simplicity.
  6. chrisltd

    Clipboard history is a nice surprise.

  7. Sir_Timbit

    Wow, 10 years already. When I think back to what Windows devices our students were using at the time--Atom-based netbooks that would grind to a crawl once management and antivirus apps were installed--switching to Chromebooks was a huge plus.

  8. jimchamplin

    Another great new addition would be dropping that planned obsolescence "feature".

  9. dcdevito

    I vividly remember being so excited to get my Cr48, which lasted an unusually long time.

  10. hrlngrv

    I've been using a Chromebook since early 2014. With files and images saved on Google Drive, it's always been easy to share files and images between different applications. How would this new & improved functionality make it simpler? As in, details would be nice.

    As for new icons, BFD.

Leave a Reply