A week ago was Chrome OS's birthday, marking ten years of Google's operating system. To celebrate, Google jam-packed a load of features in version 89 to supercharge your Chromebook. There's a ton to break down in the new update, but we want to talk about three highlights we loved using that you might not know about.
It's Chrome OS's 10th birthday today, and Google announced a slew of cool new Chrome OS 89 features to celebrate. The milestone update improves Chromebooks with several changes to enhance the user experience. Here are a handful of Chrome OS features Google announced today that are coming to eligible devices.
For around a decade, Chromebooks lacked the cross-device synergy found on rival platforms. Sharing files between your Google devices is nowhere fluid like Apple's iPhone-Mac integration. Phone Hub tightens your phone and Chromebook closer, but it's still a hassle to share content. Now, Google announced Nearby Share for Chrome OS, its answer to Apple's AirDrop. While Google says Nearby Share is launching "in the coming months," you can start using it right now in Chrome OS 89.
It's been a few months since we covered Google's ambition to bring tighter integration to two of its core hardware products. Dubbed Phone Hub, the feature aims to enhance the relationship between your Android smartphone and Chromebook. Shortly after a visual prototype made its way to the Canary and Dev channels via a Chrome flag, it mysteriously vanished from the system tray and—until recently—has not made a return. While we still don't have a functional version of it today, Phone Hub received many visual and backend updates that give us a glimpse of what Google is cooking up to bring your phone and Chromebook closer together.
QR codes may have been around since the mid-1990s, but they have become more popular than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic—you'll find them on mobile orders, Instagram, and even in Android's Wi-Fi settings. While those boxy, square designs may seem like gibberish at a glance, they offer a wide range of contactless convenience in our socially distant times. With this in mind, it was only a matter of time until compatible scanners started appearing on other platforms, including Chrome OS.
The Gallery app on Chrome OS is one of the few native apps that has stuck around since Google launched the operating system nearly a decade ago. Much like the file manager, its existence felt like an afterthought, collecting dust as the company continued to roll out OS updates. Although it received a significant visual overhaul and a name change to "Media app" in 2020, it still lacks essential photo editing capabilities. However, that's changing soon, as Google is experimenting with three new features that will really add some value.
Let's face it: the account manager on Chromebooks has needed an overhaul for quite some time. As it is, Chrome OS blurs the line between secondary personal accounts and local users, making it frustrating for the owner to add or manage people on their devices. With more users adding secondary accounts to their Chromebook in light of the global pandemic, many will have lamented the confusing setup process. The developers at Google finally realized that they could make account management a lot less complicated, so they decided to do something about it.