It's been around a year since the global pandemic forced students across the country to shift to distance learning and online presentations in a virtual setting. With schools rapidly adopting Chromebooks thanks to Google's attractive platform, the developers at Google are working on native tools for Chrome OS to help students and teachers amp up their online presentations.
We've been tracking a new feature called 'Projector' in the Chromium Gerrit since January of this year. The Projector component adds native slideshow tools to Chrome OS, making your Chromebook better equipped for presentations. While there currently isn't a Chrome flag to enable it, we managed to activate a hidden prototype of the feature in the latest Chrome OS Canary channel. Here's an early look.
An early prototype of Projector docks to the left side of the screen.
The presentation tools are easily accessible from the Chrome OS quick settings. Once selected, a bar holding a screen recorder and Key idea button will dock itself at the screen's center-left. The screen recorder will be a useful tool for professors who upload their lectures online so students can refer back to them. We're not exactly sure what the Key idea (star) button will do, but we think it could emphasize a specific word or bullet-point. None of Projector's features are functional at the moment (including the drag handles), so this is just a glimpse of what's coming to Chromebooks.
Google plans to add even more presentation tools to the upcoming Projector. By digging in the Chromium Gerrit, we were able to uncover three more tools in development that'll soon find their way onto Projector: laser pointer, speech recognition, and markers. The pointer and marker should help teachers draw students' attention to a specific part of a slide. The speech recognition feature is interesting: it looks like it'll use the same backend that powers Android's Live Caption, which is an incredible addition for hard-to-hear lectures.
With schools accelerating their digital education plans in the wake of region lockdowns, adding a host of easy-to-use presentation tools will give institutions even more reasons to switch over to Google's desktop platform. We'll continue to keep an eye out for changes and will follow up when we discover more.