Stadia just picked up an update that adds a few new features to the gaming platform, including 5.1 surround sound audio when playing games through the web (i.e., Chrome), plus an on-screen keyboard that works with gamepads through Chrome. When playing on the go, you'll also get notifications for your connection quality.

The full patch notes are just below:

  • 5.1 surround sound on web -- We’ve added support for 5.1 surround sound when playing games on web
  • On-screen keyboard -- You’ll now see an on-screen keyboard on web when you have a gamepad connected to Stadia
  • Mobile connection notifications -- You’ll see notifications for your connection quality while playing on mobile devices.

Google says that three changes are part of the Stadia 1.45 update, which is the first time I've heard of any versioning system for Stadia.

While 5.1 surround sound was available previously on other platforms (like when using a Chromecast), it didn't work when streaming via the web — though you'll need a Stadia Pro subscription to get it. This change follows the rollout of 4K support for Stadia on Chrome two weeks ago.

With the new on-screen keyboard for gamepads, you'll be able to use your controller for input when playing via Chrome as well. Even though your computer probably has an actual keyboard, it's nice to have the option, and shuffling between input devices can be a pain.

Lastly, the new notifications will be nice for determining if your connection quality is the problem the next time you run into trouble playing from your phone.

Presumably, this Stadia 1.45 update is server-side, though the mobile connection notifications may yet require an update to the mobile apps. Whatever the source, Google says it has already rolled out.