Google is today marking the 10th anniversary of the Chromebook, and the latest version of Chrome OS, version 89, is celebrating by rolling out a bunch of features to the stable branch.
The first is Phone Hub, which allows users to pair and remotely control an Android phone via a small pop-up window from the system tray. The panel shows phone status such as battery and signal and hotkeys for hotspot, silence and locating your phone. It also shows your two most recent Chrome tabs. Notifications from your phone are sent to Chrome OS, and you can even reply to a text message remotely.
Sharing between devices is also getting better. Chrome OS will now retrieve your list of Wi-Fi passwords from an Android phone, so you only need to enter that super-secure password once and it will be shared with your other (Google OS) devices. Google’s Airdrop-style Near Share has been on Android phones since last year, and now Google says you’ll be able to share between Chrome OS and Android “in the coming months.”
Chrome OS has a new ‘Tote’ section that displays recently created files. This is located in the system tray, similar to the phone and quick settings sections. From the Files app, you can also pin important files to the Tote section for later. There is a new screen capture tool that will also put files in the Tote section. You can take screenshots or videos and the gallery tool has a new “annotation” feature so you can draw on the images.
A few features seem to have been ripped straight from Android, such as the circular icon background for everything and a media player in the quick settings.
Pressing the “All button” (Chrome OS’s Caps Lock replacement) + V will bring up the new clipboard, which will save your last five copied icons. You can right-click on a word to open “Quick Replies,” which displays a definition, translation, or unit conversion powered by the Google Assistant.
That’s about it. Chrome OS is still a dead simple operating system, but there are some short and sweet additions. Most seem like Google is making its best macOS impression, the operating system that recently passed Chrome in market share.
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