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Chrome OS

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Chrome OS 68 rolling out with Material Design updates, PIN sign-in support, and more

Chrome 68 was released about two weeks ago, and Chrome 69 just arrived in the beta channel. There's usually a week delay between Chrome and Chrome OS being updated, and now Chromebooks are being updated to v68. This release includes an updated Material Design UI, PIN support for signing in, camera improvements, and more.

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Chrome OS can now install Linux apps from .deb packages

Linux applications are usually distributed in one of two ways - through a software repository, or by downloading an installer package from a website. For example, the Steam download page offers a .deb package for Linux users. Even though Linux app support on Chrome OS is improving rapidly, there has never been an obvious way to install .deb packages - until now.

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Google Camera app is coming to Pixelbook and other future Chromebooks

Chromebooks have been steadily improving over the last few years, to the point where the Google Pixelbook offers genuine competition to high-end MacBooks and Windows machines (depending on what you use a laptop for). However, the camera experience is still sorely lacking.

The Google Camera app is probably the best mobile camera software around, with its HDR+ and portrait mode allowing Pixel phones to match the imaging performance of other devices with dual and even triple-camera setups. With Android apps now available on numerous Chromebooks, why not make use of that already excellent app? Thankfully, that seems to be the plan.

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Chrome is experimenting with a 'Switch to this tab' button

If you've ever absentmindedly loaded a website that you already had open, don't worry - you're not alone. Google has long had a flag that could help with that, though it's now experimenting with an improved UI containing a 'Switch to this tab' button for it.

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Chrome OS will soon use the Google Sans font

Google's new UI font, the aptly-named 'Google Sans,' has been appearing in many of the company's apps and sites lately. The next target for Google Sans seems to be Chrome OS, according to a new code commit on the Chromium Gerrit.

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[Update: Screenshots] Chrome OS feature will let users resume Android browsing sessions

One of the nice features in Microsoft Edge for Android is the ability to move browsing sessions from your PC to your phone, and vice-versa. For example, if you're reading an article on Edge for Android, you can tap a button to make the page appear on your desktop. Now it looks like Chrome OS might implement similar functionality.

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Chrome OS is experimenting with a centered shelf layout

The team behind Chrome OS is often testing new features via flags, and the latest of these is a centered shelf layout. The concept is pretty simple - the apps you have on your taskbar, called a 'shelf' by Google, get centered with this flag. Fancy stuff.

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Chrome OS will soon have Android's Smart Text Selection

Smart Text Selection was introduced in Android 8.0 Oreo, and has two components. First, when you tap on a word, it selects the entire phrase (e.g. tapping 'Disney' expands to 'Disney World'). Second, it suggests an action or two based on what is selected (e.g. a link to Google Maps appears when selecting an address).

Chrome OS has been adopting plenty of Android features lately, and it looks like Smart Text Selection is next.

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[Update: Live] Chrome may soon add ability to import new tab backgrounds from Google Photos

Google added the option to customize Chrome's new tab page with a very familiar-looking selection of wallpapers last month. But if you thought Google was done working on the new tab page, you'd be wrong. About Chromebooks recently discovered a new change in Chromium Gerrit that'll allow users to import their new tab backgrounds from Google Photos as well.

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Google testing revamped Chrome OS file manager with better organization of local files

Google emphasizes the online aspects of Chrome OS so strongly that local features have sometimes taken a backseat. For example, file management. Sometimes you just want a file on your Chromebook rather than in Google Drive. Google is testing a tweaked file manager app in the Canary channel that will make managing those files a bit easier.

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