Google is working hard to improve Chrome OS with features that make the system simpler to use, with things like better media controls and easier copy and pasting planned for the near future. But the company also wants to make Chromebooks better at things you might not notice right away, especially when you work from home. One of these upcoming improvements is microphone noise cancellation, which could enhance the audio quality of your video conferences drastically — if you have compatible hardware, that is.
The virtual keyboard on Chrome OS has been a sore point for many Chromebook tablet owners. Ranging from unreliable autocorrect to buggy input, the typing experience on it is still pretty lackluster to this day. Last year, it did at least receive improved handwriting recognition, a major UI facelift, and an option to change its size. Now, Google is getting ready to integrate one of our favorite Chrome OS 89 features.
It's no secret that Chromebook sales have been soaring as much of the world still reels from the pandemic. Google's PC platform has proven to be dependable at a budget price — a winning formula for adoption in education. That story hasn't changed in 2021, as Chromebook sales continue to shatter shipment volume records.
Google's Chrome OS is naturally a breeding ground for its apps and services. Google Docs, Drive, Sheets, Keep, and many more come pre-installed on Chromebooks. This list of apps is soon going to grow as Google is preparing to add Google Meet and Chat to the mix.
Parallels, a Windows virtual machine app for Chrome OS, is now available on more Chromebooks with the inclusion of AMD Ryzen processor support. VM users are also getting further access to USB and other peripherals as well.
It's been a week since Google launched its big Chrome OS 90 update, and while it's nowhere near as jam-packed as 89, it did introduce a handy new diagnostics app, improved Tote (formerly Holding Space), and more. Since its release, we've been digging into the new update and unearthing even more features that could improve your Chromebook experience. Here are three experimental improvements we've found that you can try right now.
Google is a search company first and foremost, and that shows. Most of its products prominently feature search bars or search buttons, and that's no different for Chromebooks with their own dedicated search key, replacing Caps Lock. The button launches an online and system-wide search for apps, websites, bookmarks, settings entries, and more. It's handy, but it can get pretty overwhelming and chaotic due to all different kinds of entries loped together. Google sure seems to be willing to improve that.
Chromebook keyboards have always been frustrating to use for anyone coming from another platform because quite a few things are switched around. The Caps Lock position is taken over by the Search key (or "Everything button") while there's either no key between Ctrl and Alt or (on Pixelbooks) a Google Assistant shortcut. To make matters worse, Google is looking into changing a few keyboard shortcuts going forward, which probably won't help those of us who just got used to Chrome OS' peculiar shortcuts. Luckily, Google might soon allow you to customize some shortcuts.
Linux for Chromebooks has come a long way since Google introduced it in Chrome OS 69 a couple of years ago. On supported devices, it opened the door to an extensive library of desktop apps for users, like video editing tools and IDEs. GPU acceleration was an important milestone that made graphic intensive Linux app usable on Chrome OS. This is thanks to Virgil 3D, a component that allows the Linux container to tap into the hardware's GPU. In exciting news shared by Luke Short from VMware, Google is working on adding Vulkan passthrough into Virgil to improve app performance.
Last year, Google introduced new media playback controls for Chrome and Chrome OS, helping you control music or videos playing in the background without opening the respective window or tab. While the feature is already incredibly useful in its current form, Google is looking to make it even better by adding a scrubbing bar and a background matching the album cover or thumbnail.