CrossOver is a commercial compatibility layer by CodeWeavers, based on the Wine project, which aims to run popular Windows software on Unix-based operating systems. CodeWeavers released the first beta of CrossOver for Chrome OS three years ago, and now it's finally ready for the masses.
Alt-Tab is an often overlooked keyboard shortcut on Chrome OS that allows you to cycle recent applications without using a mouse. Despite the productivity potential, the Alt-Tab switcher is mediocre because it lacks interactivity. For example, you can't use the arrow keys or your cursor to select and launch recent applications, making them frustrating to access if they're placed towards the end. The developers at Google realize that the Alt-Tab experience can be better, so they tackled the interactivity issue head-on to help you quickly open your recent applications.
Tired of the awful Chrome OS media controls wasting your precious notification space?
I think you'll agree that the Chrome OS notification area needs work. The media controls in Chrome OS take a large amount of vertical space in the notification area and push critical information like calendar reminders off to the side. I was honestly pretty stoked when Google merged media controls in the notification area in 2019. I no longer needed to rummage through my Chrome tabs and apps to pause whatever media was playing in the background, which was super annoying (the "pause" button on the keyboard didn't work at the time).
Android display scaling has been a controversial topic in the Chromebook community since the removal of Android's DPI scaling setting in Chrome OS 67. The fonts and touch targets in Android apps appear tiny and illegible, making them incredibly frustrating to use compared to Chrome and native Chrome apps. There used to be workarounds to increase Android app scaling, but these methods don't work anymore. People have complained about it in the Chromebook community forums and have been filing bugs, and, to be honest, I can't blame them.
It's no secret that the file manager on Chrome OS has been a sore point for users ever since Chromebooks were first introduced to the world as cloud-centric computers. It seems like Google hastily threw in a file browser at the last moment and expected only a few people to use it. Although development on the built-in file manager has stagnated over the years, Google recently introduced small quality-of-life features to make it more efficient (like finally adding "Open File Location" to the context menu). It now looks like Google is trying to improve productivity even further by cleaning up clutter from the navigation pane.
Let's be honest with ourselves: push notifications suck. It's incredibly annoying when you are spammed information that isn't relevant to you. As irritating as it is, notifications are fundamental to a product's usability and necessary for a good user experience (when done right). To increase engagement, designers came up with notification badges, a subtle way to hint that something is waiting inside the app. Google eventually adopted this concept with Android Oreo using notification dots, and it looks like Google wants to bring notification dots to apps on your Chromebook as well.
Xbox Game Streaming officially launched yesterday, allowing you to stream nearly 200 Xbox games to your Android phone or tablet. The service has yet to launch on any other platforms, and Microsoft is sticking hard to the mobile requirement — despite their ability to run Android apps, both Chromebooks and Android TV are unsupported.
Chrome OS has always required you to hit the enter key or click the submit button to confirm your PIN code at the login screen. Adding an extra step to the login flow is a security-preserving measure that slows down snooping attackers from guessing your password. Still, some users prefer the convenience of signing in automatically after entering the correct PIN. In the most recent Chrome OS Beta channel update, Chrome OS will now offer to confirm your PIN automatically.
It is a well-known fact that Google has a rough history with Bluetooth. While the Bluetooth situation on Chromebooks is improving thanks to recent development, many of us who pair Bluetooth peripherals to our Chromebooks like wireless earbuds or mice will know that the wireless experience isn’t perfect. In 2018, with Bluetooth devices on the rise and the launch of the Pixel Slate looming, Google likely felt pressured to tackle this problem. This led to an experiment with a brand new Bluetooth daemon, in an ambitious project known as NewBlue.
"This device will no longer receive the latest software updates. Please consider upgrading"
I think you'll agree with me when I say: it's a punch to the gut to start your morning with this dreadful message in your notification tray. You may have spent a lot of money purchasing your Chromebook, and your Chromebook is already telling you that it will not be updated anymore — leaving your device vulnerable to security exploits while missing out on cool new Chrome features. Thanks to an ambitious project known internally as Lacros, your update woes may soon be a thing of the past.