Drop down menus have been a part of graphical computer interfaces since the beginning, but they aren't particularly easy to interact with on touchscreens. Google is working on getting rid of them with a few measures on Android, such as moving the password autofill dropdown to a bar on top of Gboard. But it looks like the company also wants to further reduce the number of dropdowns you come across when you surf the web in Chrome.
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.
Searching for websites you know you've saved or seen somewhere in Chrome can be a bit of a hassle despite the handy history overview, accessible via the overflow menu in the top right corner of the interface. When you search through it, it only gives you a chronological view of all the sites you've ever visited, without taking into account if a page is currently opened in a tab or saved as a bookmark. An upcoming feature is supposed to change that. It's called Memories and takes all these factors into account when you use it to search through your browsing history.
Chromebooks have an incredibly barebones video player interface that hasn't changed much over the years. It looks like Google finally wants to change that. The company is testing a much prettier video player in Canary, complete with enhanced, floating controls.
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 key to start a custom search, Google forced users to press Tab. It quickly changed the trigger as it became apparent that people weren't willing to adjust their muscle memory that much. It looks like Google still hasn't decided on how to trigger keyword mode, as it's experimenting with activating it via a double space.
On Chrome OS, the browser and the operating system are deeply intertwined. Google can't update one component without the other, making development a hassle. The company is looking to change that by introducing a decoupled version of Chrome (dubbed "Lacros"), which could simplify processes for developers and might even extend Chromebooks' lives. New evidence suggests that Google is inching closer to publicly testing Lacros.
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.
Google published the first developer preview of Android 12 this week, and XDA's Mishaal Rahman has already been digging deep into the code to unearth new features that aren't meant for our eyes just yet. It looks like Google is working on a Samsung One UI-inspired redesign of the system settings that moves interface element closer to the thumbs, and you can activate it via an ADB shell command.