Google is rolling out Chrome OS version 100 this week, and to mark the occasion, the company is sharing big updates to the operating system with this release. Among them is a new launcher with improved search capabilities, the ability to edit text with your voice, and the ability to create GIFs with the Camera app. Plus, there are new features focused on distance learning.
Starting with the new Launcher, Google is rolling out a new design that no longer takes up the entire screen. Instead, it now opens in the corner, similar to the Windows Start menu, leaving all your open apps visible. In addition to this, the search function of the launcher is now more efficient. When searching the web, you can now see more detailed results right on the launcher UI, instead of having to jump into the browser. This means you can search for things like the weather and get more information faster.
The search improvements go beyond web searches, however. Now you can search for open windows and browser tabs to make it easier to find the right one when you have several open at the same time. Additionally, you can search for Chrome OS shortcuts such as how to take a screenshot.
Another new feature in this release is the ability to edit text using your voice. This builds on the dictation feature, which lets you type into any text field with your voice, but now you can use your voice to edit text you’ve already written. For example, you can ask your Chromebook to delete a letter, move the cursor, etc. This requires the dictation feature to be enabled within Chrome OS seconds.
Reaction GIFs are all the rage these days, and Google is making it easy to create your own with this Chrome OS 100. The Camera app video recorder now has a GIF mode, which lets you record video of five seconds you can easily share on social networks.
Finally, Google has highlighted some improvements specifically aimed at students. There are a few new features here, but one of the most notable is that there’s a new YouTube app that supports offline video playback. This means you can save videos to watch when you don’t have an internet connection, and that’s a big deal if you need to entertain someone on a long trip.
Other features include the ability to add school accounts to Family Link so children can access their school resources on a Chromebook at home, and parental supervision for YouTube is also available for Family Link users. Beyond that, Google has made managing an organization’s devices easier for IT admins, including a new report that quickly shows them which devices need attention.
One feature not mentioned in this announcement is animated screensavers, which appeared in development builds of Chrome OS 100. Presumably, it’s still being worked on for a future release. Google is also working on a built-in screen recorder which is not yet available.