Believe it or not, Chromebook launched ten years ago. That’s long enough around to attend the very elementary schools that have widely adopted the hardware. And given that age, Chrome OS is due for a redesign, and that’s just what Google announced. Chrome OS 89 will make it easier to get work done fast and move between devices.
You’ll find a mix of productivity and convenience in the new feature set found in Chrome OS 89. Welcome additions include a Phone Hub. While you could already read and respond to text messages between an Android device and a Chromebook, Phone Hub will let you see phone controls and info like battery life and data connectivity. You can even enable hotspot on the fly from your Chromebook.
To help you move between devices, Wi-Fi Sync will automatically connect your Chromebook to trusted networks you’ve connected to on your Android phone or other Chrome devices. And Nearby Share will help you send files between your Chromebook and other Chrome OS or Android devices. You don’t even need an internet connection, Bluetooth or local Wi-Fi will do.
If you’re an educator, you’ll probably like the new screen capture tool features. You can launch it from Quick Settings, and it’ll grey out the screen and open a floating panel to choose options like screenshot of video recording. Anything you take goes straight to the Tote, a new space for important files. The process should be easier and faster.
As will using media controls, which sees new integration withthe Quick Settings panel. And if you share files, images, or links frequently, you’ll notice that when you click Share on supported websites, Chrome OS will automatically provide sharing apps.
Chrome OS 89 sees many design tweaks, like round app icons and a new password box shape at the login screen. But new features like a clipboard that remembers the last five things you copied and the ability to remember which virtual desks held which programs after a reboot show Google focused heavily on tweaking the overall experience for the better.
Chrome OS 89 starts rolling out today and should reach all Chromebooks in the coming days.