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.
I've been using a Chromebook as my sole productivity machine for about a month now after introducing Chrome OS to my workflow over a year ago. While I've been surprisingly happy with the experience, it took me ages to find the perfect PDF reader to replace the excellent PDF Expert app on macOS. I ended up testing quite a few tools and created a fine selection of solutions that might help you find your preferred workflow for your PDF needs, too.
I personally need a PDF reader to annotate film and TV scripts mostly, but your workflow might differ from mine.
Progressive web apps are great alternatives to installing applications from the Play Store, offering many of the same features at a fraction of the size. Google is constantly working to improve the experience of using PWAs on Chrome across all platforms, aiming to match what most expect from traditional apps. Going forward, developers can start including content for an all-new installation screen for their progressive web apps, with Twitter being the first to implement the changes.
If you're using the Canary version of Chrome, you might have noticed the reading list icon hanging out on the right side of the bookmarks bar, just under your profile pic and the main settings button. This is a new feature as of Chrome 89, hidden by default in the standard release but available via a flag, and enabled by default in Chrome 91 Canary. What's also present in that build, and which wasn't before, is the ability to hide it with a quick right-click.
Not too long ago, Google disgruntled many power users by changing a shortcut in Chrome related to custom searches. Instead of being able to follow up a trigger word with a tap of the space bar to start the custom search, people were forced to use the tab key. Google quickly reverted the change as it became apparent that people weren't willing to adjust their muscle memory that much, but the company isn't done messing around with the shortcut just yet. It's currently experimenting with requiring double tapping space.
Live Caption is one of the most underrated features to come to Android in years. Whether you're hard of hearing, deaf, in a loud environment, or forget to bring your headphones, it automatically transcribes any audio coming from your phone for you. We long knew that Live Caption is on its way to Chrome as well, and you could even activate it via a flag in Chrome 88 already. And today, Google has announced that the feature is now available for everyone.
There are several additional features and tweaks in Chrome OS 89 that are not yet part of the default experience. They are likely not stable enough for everyone while they're still in development. Google tucked some of these experimental features behind a page — and you can enable them right now. Activate these switches, or "flags," by typing chrome://flags in Chrome’s URL bar and hitting enter. Here is a list of low-risk flags we've tested that we recommend trying out.
Chrome 88 was released only last week, marking the release of the Manifest V3 extension API, changes to password management, and the official death of Adobe Flash support. Chrome 89 has now arrived in the Beta Channel, and it seems to be an even bigger release — even if many of its changes are hidden to most people. Let's dive in!
Google tries out a lot of tweaks on its early Chrome browser and Chrome OS builds, though most of it isn't immediately user-facing. In the Chrome 91 build some of those changes will be more obvious thanks to the Experiments menu, previously called Labs. You can find it by clicking the beaker icon that's now next to your user icon in the menu bar, and it's now enabled by default on Canary.
Google Chrome was one of the first mainstream software projects to establish fast and regular updates, with a new version coming about every six weeks. This helped start an industry shift that is still ongoing today, but now Google is about kick Chrome's release schedule into high gear.