We bring you the news of the M89 version of Chrome OS, which has started arriving to Chromebook users for the past few days. The development of this operating system goes hand in hand with the browser, which is why the version number is so high since Chrome 89 was released a few days ago. The new features focus on two areas: making Chrome OS more functional and communicating better with other devices.
Chrome OS and Chromebooks have grown dramatically. Especially in 2020, where their sales increased by 109%, and Chrome OS overtook macOS to become the second most used operating system in the world. Now, Google wants to settle its system with new features oriented to its operation as a computer instead of as an operating system in the cloud, adding several options that were missing, and others to help with the ecosystem with Android.
Currently, according to data provided by Google itself, 1 in 10 computers sold in the world are Chromebooks, 1 in 5 in the United States. Their impact is seen especially in the educational field, where they claim to be leaders. Google’s strategy continues to be the same as it has been in recent years, they take care of the operating system, and the manufacturers are the ones who create the devices.
This strategy will continue in 2021, where Google ensures that more than 60 new Chromebook models of all ranges will be launched, but none manufactured by themselves. In any case, what we are going to tell you today are the new features of the operating system that those who get the updates will receive.
Phone Hub to connect Android with Chrome OS
The first new feature is Phone Hub, a function that Google has been working on for some time now. It is a tool that allows you to access your Android phone from the Chromebook, something very similar to Your Windows Phone, but still with many limitations. However, it is an interesting first step.
For starters, once you establish a connection with the phone, using both Android and Chrome OS with the same Google account, you can check the device’s battery and coverage. You will also have a series of quick actions, such as activating mobile silence, connection sharing, or ringing the phone to locate it.
It will also allow you to view extra content, such as the last tabs you opened in Chrome on your mobile to resume browsing on the Chromebook. Also, you will have access to mobile notifications, being able to see them on the Chromebook, and even respond to notifications that are instant messaging apps with quick actions. The latter is the same as you can respond from Android notifications, but with the convenience of the Chromebook.
Nearby Share also on Chrome OS
Google has a file-sharing system on Android called Nearby Share. It is a system that uses the Bluetooth Low Energy standard to find nearby cell phones and send the request that you want to send the file. Something very similar to Apple’s Airdrop, but designed for Android phones.
Now, with its new version, Nearby Share also comes to Chrome OS. This will allow you to share files wirelessly and without needing third-party applications with other Chromebooks and Android phones, and Android devices will also be able to find Chromebooks to send them files.
Multi-desktop system is improved
Chrome OS has a multi-desktop system, which allows you to have multiple desktops just like Windows, and to have some websites or applications in one or another. With the improvements implemented, this system is now more functional. For example, when restarting, all the windows will be recovered so you will not lose the order you had.
You will be able to easily create other desktops when you enter their display, and name them to be organized. You will also be able to click on a website and send it to a specific desktop to easily organize the content. With the desktops, you’ll be able to move them to organize them by changing their order.
Other new features of Chrome OS M89
- WiFi Sync will allow you to turn on the Chromebook or your Android, and detect if the other Android device or Chrome OS is connected to a WiFi network. If it is, you can connect to it with your device without having to type passwords, the other mobile or Chromebook will tell your Chromebook the credentials to connect directly.
- Chrome OS finally implements a system for taking quick screenshots, which also serves to record a video of what you do on screen. When taking screenshots or recordings, you will be able to select the area of the screen you want to capture.
- Tote function. This is quick access to the files you use the most, as well as the last ones you have used on the Chromebook. You’ll also see the latest screenshots, and you can pin files. The idea is that the items you may need the most are always at hand.
- Clipboard in Chrome OS, which allows you to save the last 5 items. You can copy items with Control + C and paste them with Control + V. Same as in Windows, which will allow you to easily move items from one web or application to another.
- Quick Answer: When you right-click on some words or phrases that you have selected in a text, inside the contextual menu you will see an Assistant option where quick answers are proposed to you. It is as if the assistant were giving you information about what you have selected.
- Multimedia controls are integrated directly into the Quick Settings menu, so you know where to go to play, pause or skip to the next song, whether you’re listening to it over the Internet or an Android app.
- Fewer steps are now needed to share files, images, and links between apps and the network. Tapping Share in a compatible app or web app will bring up the list of apps you can share content with. Same as Android.
- Improved parental control settings, making it easier for parents. They will be able to add a school account on their children’s Chromebook, or a PIN to make it easier for children to log in.
- Improvements to the written content reading feature, where you can control the narration playback. For example, you can speed it up to make it go a little faster.
- The Chromebook’s built-in app icons are redesigned, and have a more modern look and feel.
In addition to this, Google continues to work with developers to help them port apps to Chrome OS, whether they are web apps or Android apps that you can install with Google Play. The idea is to continue to be able to deploy applications to use them when you are connected, but also when you are not. Besides, Google says they want to make it not matter if an app is native, Android, or web app, as they want to offer an increasingly unified experience.
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