Chrome 71 arrived for desktop platforms and Android earlier this month, and now Chrome OS 71 is starting to roll out. This release includes a ton of new features, but many are limited to Google's Pixel Slate at the moment.
Most of the changes in this release are Pixel Slate features being ported upstream into Chrome OS. This includes Android P, the new native Google Assistant (the Pixelbook's Assistant runs in the Android layer), fingerprint scanner support, and Portrait Mode on the camera. All of these are still exclusive to the Slate, but now that they are in Chrome OS, they can be ported to other Chromebooks in the future. Google has already said that native Assistant will come to more models in the near future.
Native Google Assistant on the Pixel Slate
Moving onto features that are coming to all Chromebooks, there's a new Camera app. Honestly, it's not much better than the last one — the buttons are still fairly small and spread out. I'm not sure what happened to porting Google Camera to Chrome OS, but that effort seems to have been abandoned.
Left: Old Camera; Right: New Camera
The app launcher has also received a few improvements. You can now create semi-full app pages, and the search now auto-completes like Gmail. In most cases, you can just type a few characters and press Enter.
Here's the full changelog for Chrome OS 71:
- Refreshed look for Camera app
- Fingerprint and PIN enrollment in Out of Box Experience
- Autocomplete in Launcher search
- Adaptive top UI in Chrome browser based on user scrolling
- Unified setup flow to connect with an Android phone
- Assistant natively integrated into the OS (Pixel Slate first, expanding to more devices later)
- New features for families including app management and screen time limits.
- Ability to create semi-full pages in Launcher for customizations
- Launched Android P on Pixel Slate
- Fingerprint authentication mode on Pixel Slate
- Portrait mode for Camera app on Pixel Slate
The update is rolling out now to all models, so if you don't have it already, you should get it soon.
- Chrome Release Blog