Tag Archives: Chromebooks

What’s new in Chrome OS: Virtual Desks, simpler printing and more

One of the best parts of Chromebooks is that every new version of Chrome OS brings dozens of improvements to keep your device safe, fast and hassle-free. The latest version of Chrome OS includes tools to help you organize your workspace, make phone calls more easily, and print and share feedback more quickly.

Organize your workspace with Virtual Desks

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the number of windows and tabs you have open? Organize your workspace and multitask more easily with Virtual Desks on Chromebook. 

Think of Virtual Desks as separate workspaces within your Chromebook. Use this feature to create helpful boundaries between projects or activities. If you’re working on multiple projects, you can dedicate a desk to each one. Or if you like to take a break during the workday, you could create a desk for web browsing or gaming. If you’re a student, you can create a different desk for each class. 

Once the latest Chrome OS update arrives on your device, open Overview and tap New Desk in the top right-hand corner of your screen to try out Virtual Desks. Try dragging windows between desks. 

Create Virtual Desk
Move windows between desks on Chromebook

You can also try out the following keyboard shortcuts to take full advantage of Virtual Desks:

  • Create a new Desk with “Shift” + “Search ” + “=”

  • Switch between Desks with “Search ” + “]” 

  • Move windows between Desks with “Shift” + “Search ” + “]”

Click-to-call

Chromebooks just got even better for people who use an Android phone. Now, you can right-click a phone number when browsing the web on your Chromebook and send the number to your mobile phone. 

To set-up this feature, sign into your Google account on your Chromebook and phone and ensure that you’ve turned on syncing for Chrome browser. Save time by getting on the phone quicker and work across devices more easily. 


Print without hassle

Now, compatible printers will automatically show up in your printer list—no setup needed. Press Ctrl + P on your keyboard, choose your printer, and you’re done. 

We've also reduced the number of steps needed to save printers to your profile.  If there’s a specific printer you use frequently, you can now save it as default. Just visit your Settings and head to the Printers section.


Printing improvements

Share feedback more easily

When members of the Chromebook community share thoughts on how to improve our software, our team reviews the suggestions to determine what we’ll build next. For example, a few months ago we implemented improvements to notification management based on comments from Chromebook owners. 


Now it’s even easier for you to quickly share feedback. Just press and hold your power button for a second, and alongside the “Lock” and “Power off” buttons, you will now see a dedicated button for feedback. 

Feedback button

Let us know if you have suggestions for Chrome OS so we can make your experience even better.

Bringing Wi-Fi to the residents of Celilo Village

For the past seven years, I have spent time visiting students in rural communities across Washington State, where I live. I share information about science, engineering, technology and math, and specifically talk about software engineering and the projects Google has launched. It’s a true joy of mine to see students excited about technology, and see their young minds thinking about the possibilities ahead of them. 


When I visit students, I get to combine my experience as an engineer at Google, and as a member of the Google American Indian Network, to bring access to technology to those who may not otherwise have it. As an Elder and an Enrolled Member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Oregon, I was honored to take part in Google’s latest initiative to bring Wi-Fi and Chromebooks to Celilo Village, a Native American community on the Columbia River. This project will give residents and students the ability to access the abundance of information found online, and improve the digital divide between urban and rural communities.


The village has a historical significance to this part of the country, dating back over 11,000 years. Today, it’s home to nearly 100 Native Americans from many tribes, four of whom are the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Confederated Tribes of Yakama, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and the Nez Perce Tribe. And until now, the 16 homes in the village had sporadic or no access to Wi-Fi.

Celilo Village schoolhouse

Distributing Chromebooks to village residents in their renovated schoolhouse.

Thanks to a grant from Google, participation from the Google American Indian Network and collaboration with Dufur School, village residents and The Dalles Data Center, all homes now have access to Wi-Fi, and so do their schoolhouse and longhouse. Residents will have access to Chromebooks, and I put together a booklet with instructions on getting online and accessing Google apps.

Daydream VR in Celilo Village

Karen Whitford, a resident and Elder of Celilo Village, tries out the Google Daydream View VR headset.

The idea for the partnership came from Celilo Village resident Bobby Begay, who talked to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center about funding connectivity for the village. The Discovery Center then worked with Googlers across the company to get the project started, including the Google American Indian Network. We celebrated this special gift with a community event in Celilo Village over the weekend, where we were joined by tribal leaders, policymakers and community members.

My fellow Googlers and I worked directly with the community to get this done, and we plan to keep our partnership going. “I’m excited to see the project come to fruition, but I think even more I’m excited at the opportunity to foster a longer-term relationship with residents of Celilo,” says my colleague Tria Bullard, one of the first Googlers to get involved with the project. We plan to provide more trainings and other computer science-related activities in the future. 

My hope is that with this new window into technology, Celilo Village will continue to grow and thrive for years to come. And who knows: Maybe kids growing up there will become part of the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Bringing Wi-Fi to the residents of Celilo Village

For the past seven years, I have spent time visiting students in rural communities across Washington State, where I live. I share information about science, engineering, technology and math, and specifically talk about software engineering and the projects Google has launched. It’s a true joy of mine to see students excited about technology, and see their young minds thinking about the possibilities ahead of them. 


When I visit students, I get to combine my experience as an engineer at Google, and as a member of the Google American Indian Network, to bring access to technology to those who may not otherwise have it. As an Elder and an Enrolled Member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Oregon, I was honored to take part in Google’s latest initiative to bring Wi-Fi and Chromebooks to Celilo Village, a Native American community on the Columbia River. This project will give residents and students the ability to access the abundance of information found online, and improve the digital divide between urban and rural communities.


The village has a historical significance to this part of the country, dating back over 11,000 years. Today, it’s home to nearly 100 Native Americans from many tribes, four of whom are the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Confederated Tribes of Yakama, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and the Nez Perce Tribe. And until now, the 16 homes in the village had sporadic or no access to Wi-Fi.

Celilo Village schoolhouse

Distributing Chromebooks to village residents in their renovated schoolhouse.

Thanks to a grant from Google, participation from the Google American Indian Network and collaboration with Dufur School, village residents and The Dalles Data Center, all homes now have access to Wi-Fi, and so do their schoolhouse and longhouse. Residents will have access to Chromebooks, and I put together a booklet with instructions on getting online and accessing Google apps.

Daydream VR in Celilo Village

Karen Whitford, a resident and Elder of Celilo Village, tries out the Google Daydream View VR headset.

The idea for the partnership came from Celilo Village resident Bobby Begay, who talked to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center about funding connectivity for the village. The Discovery Center then worked with Googlers across the company to get the project started, including the Google American Indian Network. We celebrated this special gift with a community event in Celilo Village over the weekend, where we were joined by tribal leaders, policymakers and community members.

My fellow Googlers and I worked directly with the community to get this done, and we plan to keep our partnership going. “I’m excited to see the project come to fruition, but I think even more I’m excited at the opportunity to foster a longer-term relationship with residents of Celilo,” says my colleague Tria Bullard, one of the first Googlers to get involved with the project. We plan to provide more trainings and other computer science-related activities in the future. 

My hope is that with this new window into technology, Celilo Village will continue to grow and thrive for years to come. And who knows: Maybe kids growing up there will become part of the next generation of scientists and engineers.

High engagement, larger screens: How Android developers can reach users on any device

Posted by Allan Livingston, Product Management Director, Chrome OS App Ecosystem

Android fuels mobile apps on devices that range far beyond your typical small-screen smartphone, from new Chromebooks like the lightweight, high-performance Google Pixelbook Go to multi-display devices and foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Not to mention the more than 175M Android tablets that have the Google Play store installed.1

These large-screen devices set the stage for more engaging and visually immersive experiences, whether by creating a larger canvas for creativity or by giving users faster, more flexible ways to work. As we’ve continued to prioritize large-screen devices with OEM partners like Samsung, Asus, and Lenovo, we’ve been able to expand our reach to a huge new audience of users.

During the week of Black Friday in 2018, 1 in 3 notebooks sold in the U.S. were Chromebooks.2 Chromebook unit sales also increased 22% YoY, while the rest of the notebook category decreased -6.1%.3 And we’re not just reaching more users — we’re reaching more engaged users. In fact, in just the last year, the total amount of time spent in Android apps on Chrome OS has grown 4X.4

YoY notebook sales in the U.S.

By making adjustments for larger screens, you can provide richer experiences across all these devices and tap into a wider audience of app users. Development teams around the world — including Adobe Lightroom, Evernote, and Gameloft, among many others — have already seen some incredible results:

App developers driving engagement on larger screens

With the goal of allowing users to play any video file, anywhere, on any device or screen size, the developers at VideoLAN project decided to adapt VLC — an open source, cross-platform multimedia player — for all screens. The team started by adding keyboard and mouse support before designing multiple versions of the layout to allow users to easily scale and resize the app.

Users can now enjoy the same immersive experience across a range of different devices and form factors, and VideoLAN has already received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users around the world.

War Robots — a 12-player real-time battle game developed by Pixonic — was originally designed for early-generation phones. The team enabled windowed gameplay so users could play in one window while watching their favorite streamers or upgrading their robots in another, created new tutorials and controls that appear whenever players switch between desktop and tablet mode, and added support for keyboard and mouse input.

More than 100,000 players have already played War Robots on Chrome OS since Pixonic rolled out the latest optimizations, which made War Robots’ battles even more thrilling and engaging on larger screens, and Pixonic has seen 25% longer user sessions on Chromebooks as a result.

Is your app optimized for large-screen devices? Here are a few things to consider:

1) Laptop and tablet mode
Test your core app functions to make sure everything works smoothly without crashing as users switch between different modes.

2) Window management and layout
Support multi-window mode and free-form window resizing, and be sure to design optimized layouts for both landscape and portrait orientations. Set up your app to correctly handle configuration changes to avoid crashes when people rotate their devices.

Suite of devices

3) Keyboard and mouse input
Make sure your app is fully functional without touch input, and add support for keyboards, mice, and game controllers (if applicable).

4) Hardware support
If you’re using NDK, be sure to support x86 (32 and 64bit) ABIs to ensure the highest possible performance.

Build, test, and run Android apps on a Chromebook

From the start, our goal has been to make the Chromebook a simple, secure, and speedy environment for everyone. The launch of Linux (Beta) on Chrome OS allowed Android developers to build and test apps with a Chromebook. And earlier this year at I/O, we announced that Android Studio 3.5 now fully supports Chrome OS with a simple one-click installation.

Since then, we’ve been working on a few improvements that make Chromebooks an even better place for safe and seamless Android app development. Let’s start with the biggest one:

Deploying an app directly to Chrome OS to enable full Android development
In the past, you could only test your apps by deploying them to Android phones. With Chrome OS’s upcoming M80 release, you’ll be able to deploy Android apps directly to your Chromebook. That way, you can develop and test your app on the same machine, all without a connected device or needing to put your laptop in developer mode. Developers can start testing this feature in developer channel in November.

GPU acceleration for a snappier, jank-free UI (now in beta channel)
We’ve enabled GPU support to reduce latency and deliver a snappier UI. That goes for developer apps such as Android Studio, Unity Editor, or Visual Studio Code. And for developers who also work on web apps, GPU acceleration means faster testing with Chrome Canary or Firefox.

Container backup and restore to easily move between devices
Previously, Linux files and apps were tied entirely to the device — if you lost your device, you lost all the work inside of it. Now, Chrome OS’s container-based architecture allows you to pack up your entire workspace and export it to external storage or Drive. The backup file can be restored at any point, either on the same machine — which is helpful when jumping back to a previous state — or to move to another Chromebook.

You can now find import and export buttons in your Linux settings.

Picture-in-picture (PiP) support

If you’ve built PIP support into your Android apps, you’ll see that function work seamlessly in Chrome OS in 2020. But you can start testing this feature now by enabling PiP in Android settings → Developer options.

Build your apps with larger screens in mind

With millions of users on Chromebooks, tablets, foldables, and now multi-display devices, designing app experiences with larger screens in mind is crucial. Seize this opportunity to engage more users by optimizing your existing apps to work great across all screens. And the latest Linux features on Chrome OS give you the power to use a single machine to build and run Android apps. Don’t hesitate to take action to ensure your apps work seamlessly on larger screens with Linux on Chrome OS.









Sources

1. The number of tablets only accounts for devices that have the Google Play Store installed (e.g., excluding tablets in China); the actual number of tablets capable of running Android applications is much larger.

2. The NPD Group, Inc., Retail Tracking Service, U.S., Notebook Computers, Chrome OS, based on units, Nov. 18, 2018–Nov. 24, 2018 vs. Nov. 19, 2017–Nov. 25, 2017.

3. The NPD Group, Inc., U.S. Retail Tracking Service, Notebook Computers, based on units, Sept. 2018–Aug. 2019. Sales are adjusted for 5 weeks in Jan. 2018 vs. 4 weeks in Jan. 2019.

4. Google Internal Data, March 2018–March 2019.

Using personal experience to make Chromebooks accessible

David Tseng has dedicated his career to using technology to break down barriers for people with disabilities. At Google, he’s the Technical Lead for Chrome OS accessibility services, which means that his team makes Chromebooks easier to use for people with a wide range of disabilities. In honor of Disability Awareness Month, we sat down with David to hear more about his experiences making Chromebooks more accessible. 

What led you to a career in tech and accessibility?

I happen to be blind myself, so I grew up closely tied to technology. My “pen and paper” consisted of digital braille displays. My textbooks and exams came in digital formats even when my sighted peers used the usual physical variety. My interactions with computers meant listening to computerized text-to-speech. Looking back, all of this nudged me to wonder how these crucial pieces of my daily life worked, and led me to study them in college and beyond.

My interest specifically in Chromebook accessibility stems from this personal passion. In large part, it comes from the fact that I not only use my Chromebook every day to accomplish all sorts of tasks at home and at work, but also that I’m an engineer with expertise in making those very products more helpful. When you work on something like accessibility it can be challenging because the user population has specific and detailed needs that aren’t always obvious or intuitive. It’s these challenges that motivate me. I’ve always thought that opportunities are boundless with software, and I still believe that today.

What does Disability Awareness Month mean to you?

I’ve always been eager to share with people the resources we have available through technology. For me, technology has served as a way to level the playing field. Now that so many of us have devices in our pockets at all times, we can move around more easily with our mobile phones, read our own mail, identify colors, recognize people’s faces and their expressions -- there are so many wonderful and empowering things we can do with technology that can help us all lead fulfilling and independent lives.

What's the best part of your job?

I love getting to lead the creation of features that tangibly make Chromebook better for users with disabilities, and also make Chromebook better for everyone. My team and I have the opportunity to create features for Chromebook like ChromeVox, which enables blind and low vision users to navigate the screen with audio spoken feedback, or with a connected braille display. This feature is personally meaningful to me, since I use it during my day-to-day work. 

David using ChromeVox on his Chromebook at work

My team and I have also developed Dictation on Chromebook, which allows a user to input text into any field on a Chromebook using their voice. This is especially useful not only for people with dexterity impairments, but also for anyone who wants to take a break from using their keyboard on Chromebook to type with their voice.  

Our team is on a journey to make Chromebook as strong as possible for people with disabilities. Over the past couple of months, we dramatically improved the usability of Automatic Clicks, where users can set the cursor to automatically click or take action when the cursor stops moving for a certain amount of time -- something that can be helpful for users with motor or dexterity challenges. 

I believe that accessibility is a mindset that can be integrated into any aspect of technology. Whether you're interested in machine learning, graphics, operating systems, hardware or gaming, there’s probably a pressing need for inclusive design. 

To learn more about how to turn on accessibility features that work best for your needs on Chromebook, check out the Chromebook accessibility help page for more information.

How classroom tech brings accessibility with dignity

For Lisa Berghoff, Director of Instructional Technology at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Illinois, one of her big assistive technology “aha” moments came while working with a student with autism. The student, often disruptive in class because she wanted immediate answers to questions, needed a teaching aide at her side—an accommodation that set her apart from her peers. “There’s nothing less cool than having an adult next to you in a high school class,” Berghoff says. 

Berghoff decided to open up a Google Doc on the student’s Chromebook, with the teaching aide accessing the same Doc on her own Chromebook from across the room and responding to the student’s questions in real time. “That document, with all the questions and answers captured by the student, actually became a resource for other students—it was a huge win for everyone,” Berghoff says. “That’s something we couldn't have done years ago.” 

In Berghoff’s 25 years in education, she’s seen the many changes that technology has brought to every student—but particularly those with learning challenges. In honor of Disability Awareness Month, we asked Berghoff about the impact of assistive technology and accessibility up close. Just getting started with G Suite and Chromebooks, and want to learn more about accessibility? Head to edu.google.com/accessibility to learn more. 

How’d you get started in special education?

I did my undergrad degree in psychology with grand plans to be a psychologist, but when I applied to some Ph.D programs they told me to get some experience in the real world. My first job was working at a crisis shelter for teenage girls. Because of my work with the girls who struggled so much to learn, I took some courses in special education—and realized that was where I wanted to be.

How’d you make the switch from special education to instructional technology?

I’d spent the last several years working with high school students with an array of significant disabilities. I would try anything if I thought it could help my kids learn, so the technology office started throwing all the tech my way—everything from Chromebooks to iPads to Promethean boards—because they knew I’d give it all an honest try. 

I saw that when used with integrity, technology could really be a game changer in helping kids learn. I distinctly recall a reading lesson where I recorded myself reading and shared a YouTube link, so students could pause and replay the video at their own pace.

Timing was on my side, and when the instructional technology director position opened up at Highland Park, the thought of having a wider influence appealed to me. At the time, I was fascinated by all kinds of kids with learning challenges—not just the students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). No matter what challenges kids have, many often need some kind of special support and could benefit from the right technology. 

Lisa Berghoff in the classroom

So you’re seeing the value of the “accessibility for all” movement up close.

I do a lot of training in universal design, which is about making everything more accessible. When you design things for people at the edges, everyone benefits—like how ramps help people in wheelchairs, but if you’re pushing a baby stroller, you’ll benefit too. 

What’s changed in special education and EdTech over your time in the field?

It’s the attitude of the kids, and that’s because of the better tools we have. In the past we had to give struggling students big, bulky laptops with accessibility tools—and they hated them, because the laptops made the students look different than everyone else. Now laptops like Chromebooks are so ubiquitous; everyone has one. I love that students with disabilities can access the tools they need in a way that gives them dignity, and that doesn’t separate them from the rest of the class. Having a device in each student's hand has completely changed teaching and learning.

What’s the next new thing in assistive technology?

I think there’s a lot coming with augmented reality and virtual reality, especially for students with physical disabilities who don’t have access to the wider world. There’s also the possibility to use technology for global connections. We see kids who have a rare disease or disorder, and feel like they’re the only ones out there. If they can connect to other students just like them out in the world, it makes a big difference for them psychologically. 

I have a student who doesn’t speak, and hasn’t physically been to school for a long time. Even simply using Gmail helps her make friends at school—and her friends feel like they are her ally. Her lack of speech is no longer a barrier.

6 Chromebook keyboard shortcuts that save time

Chrome Browser keyboard shortcuts (which also work on Chromebook) can be major timesavers. Keyboard shortcuts, also called “hot keys,”  help you speed up a wide variety of tasks, including taking a screenshot, locking your screen, and even (fittingly) viewing all keyboard shortcuts—just click Ctrl + Alt + /.

These six Chromebook keyboard shortcuts are among the most popular shortcuts that can help you do more in less time. While these tips are especially helpful for those of you who use Chromebooks at work, you might find they help you get things done faster, regardless of whether you're at work or home.

1. Dock browser windows.
Digging into projects often requires opening more than one browser window—also called a “browser instance”—at a time. This can be an effective way to organize work. You can open one browser instance for dashboards, one for apps, another for Gmail, a third for Google Docs you’re working on, and, perhaps, one for music.

If you find yourself going back and forth between two browser instances, it’s a good idea to “dock” your screens, or anchor them in place on your screen so they don’t move around. This way, you can access two screens side-by-side. Hit Alt + ] to dock one browser instance to the left and Alt + [ to dock the other browser instance to the right.

ink-42-proposal-v3.png

2. Switch between browser instances or browser tabs.
Docking browser instances is one way to work more efficiently when you’re juggling projects. Another strategy is to quickly switch between what you have open. Within each browser instance, it’s not uncommon to have multiple tabs open on your screen. People do this often when they’re searching the web or working in different apps, like Gmail or Drive. You can use keyboard shortcuts to switch between browser instances and between tabs.

Click Alt + tab to switch between the two most recent browser instances. Continue to hold Alt after pressing tab and you’ll get a tiled view of all of your open browser instances. Click Ctrl + tab (no point and click necessary) to navigate between browser tabs.

3. Recover closed tabs.
If you accidentally close Chrome, there’s no need to worry. Simply hit Ctrl + Shift + T and your most recently closed tab (or browser instance) comes right back. If you closed more than one, just hit that combination of keys again, and Chrome will keep restoring. 

4. Use Caps Lock.
One of the first things you might notice when you switch to Chrome OS is that there’s no Caps Lock key. But let’s face it, sometimes you need to shout your enthusiasm (COOKIES IN THE BREAKROOM!). In such instances, Caps Lock is just a keyboard shortcut away.

Editing Microsoft Office files on a Chromebook is the cat’s meow. Follow the instructions below.

Use Alt + search to activate and deactivate Caps Lock. The search key typically features a magnifying glass and is located on the far left side of your keyboard where Caps Lock is on other laptops. On some Chromebooks, you want to press Alt + Assistant , which is the key that resembles bubbles and is located between the Ctrl and Alt keys on the bottom left side of the keyboard. A notification will pop up and  let you know when you’ve activated Caps Lock and again when you deactivate it.

If you use Caps Lock frequently, you can also enable the search key to be a permanent Caps Lock button in Settings. Here’s how:

  1. Click the time in the bottom right corner of your screen. It will pull up different tools for you to use. 

  2. Click the gear/settings icon in the top right.

  3. Scroll to Device and click Keyboard.

  4. Use the drop-down menu to the right of Search to select Caps Lock.

5. Switch between work and personal accounts.

Setting up a personal account on your Chromebook to coincide with your work account makes it easy to switch between personal and work email on one device. This post explains how to set up a personal account on a Chromebook. Once you’ve set that up, use Alt + Ctrl + > or Alt + Ctrl + < to quickly switch between accounts. 

6.  Launch applications located on Chrome OS’s “shelf,” or taskbar.

At the bottom of the screen of your Chromebook, you’ll see a row of icons representing applications. We call this bottom part of the screen the “app shelf.” Keyboard shortcuts let you launch a specific application on the app shelf. Alt + 1 will launch the first app from the left on your shelf, Alt + 2 will open the second app from the left on your shelf, and so on.

Chrome icons update.png

For more help on how to work efficiently on Chromebooks, check out our posts on how to set up a new Chromebook, 6 common questions for former Mac users who are new to Chromebook, how to use a Chromebook if you’ve switched from a PC, and (for IT admins) 5 Google IT tips for driving and sustaining Chromebook adoption. Whether you’re new to Chromebooks or have used them for a while, these tips can help you—and your company—complete your work faster.

Source: Google Chrome


What’s new in Chrome OS: Google Assistant comes to more Chromebooks

The latest version of Chrome OS brings the Google Assistant to more Chromebooks. It’s starting to roll out now to more non-managed, consumer devices.  The Assistant on Chromebook helps you stay productive, control your smart devices, and have a little fun along the way. To get started, enable the Assistant in your Chromebook’s settings and then try asking or typing some of these queries: 

“Hey Google, create a new document”

Quickly create new Docs, Sheets and Slides in your Google Drive. Or open a pre-existing file by specifying its title in your query. With your Assistant, access files in Drive even faster than before.  

documentGIF_1


“Hey Google, what’s next on my calendar?”

Your Assistant can help you stay on top of your busy schedule. You can ask it when your next meeting starts, find out when your next flight is scheduled, or add an event to your calendar. 

calendarGIF_1

“Hey Google, remind me to buy a cake for Ciara’s birthday”

Set helpful reminders with the Assistant. If you’re working on a project and remember something you need to do later, set a quick reminder. That way, you can stay focused on your current task without dropping the ball on your to-do list. 

reminderGIF_1

“Hey Google, play some party music” 

Use your Assistant to help set the mood.  Now you can use your Chromebook to play music through speakers like the Google Nest Hub Max or control other devices like smart lights. You can even type a query into your Chromebook to control devices in different parts of your home—without using your voice. 

partyStatic_1

Enable your Assistant on Chromebook

On Chromebook, you can communicate with the Assistant by using your voice or typing.  Here’s how to enable the Assistant and access it with your voice: 

  1. On your Chromebook, go to Settings > Search and Assistant > Google Assistant
  2. Enable voice input and train your Assistant to recognize your voice.

  3. Just say “Hey Google” and your Assistant will respond.

voiceGIF_1

After enabling the Assistant in Settings, you can also access it by using your keyboard:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut: “Search”+ “a”
  2. Type a query. You can even skip writing, “Hey Google.”

keyboardGIF_1

There are thousands of actions that you can do on your Assistant, and it’s always learning and getting better. Try saying or typing, “Hey Google, what can you do?” to explore more.

We’ll be back in around six weeks to let you know more about what’s new in Chrome OS. 

If you give a student a Chromebook

We created Chromebooks to help people, students included, achieve anything. These shareable, versatile devices connect people to the internet, to each other and to quality apps and extensions. Give a student a Chromebook and you give them endless access to information and resources. By learning to find answers to their questions, collaborate with others and work independently and effectively, students build digital skills that will help them succeed throughout school and for the rest of their lives. 

So, give a student a Chromebook and they will… 

Find answers and solve problems

Chromebook apps can help students navigate the online world with confidence while improving digital literacy and comprehension skills. These apps have recently been updated for back to school: 

  • Epic!, the world’s largest digital reading platform for kids, has a massive library of books, audiobooks, videos and quizzes to help children develop a love of reading and learning. Teachers can now log in with Google single sign-on, add students with Google Classroom and download student reports into Google Sheets.

  • CK-12 offers a free, personalized learning platform spanning K-12 math, science and more. Their customizable FlexBook® Courses foster interactivity and continuous feedback, and now include new reports showing class level insights for Google Classroom assignments. 

  • DOGO media teaches literacy, reading fluency and global awareness through current events, books and movies. They’ve also launched Spanish-language resources that integrate with Google Classroom. 

TIP: Head to the Chromebook App Hub, where you can find educator and admin preferred apps, hear from app developers directly for up-to-date information, and get real classroom inspiration from teachers. Educators interested in apps on the App Hub should connect with their IT admins who can evaluate purchasing options. 

Learn alongside peers 

Thanks to built-in accessibility features and an array of assistive apps, students with learning differences can develop new strategies. Check out these apps with recently updated features and new integrations: 

  • Capti Voice is a reading support tool. Its new Classroom integration allows teachers to accommodate different learning needs and make tests accessible to more students. 

  • Texthelp offers assistive technology for reading, writing and language learning. With a new WriQ Classroom integration, educators can view dashboards with writing metrics by class and monitor student progress.

  • Don Johnston’s curriculum, learning and evaluation tools are designed to support all types of learning styles and abilities. For tools that integrate with G Suite/Classroom and support dyslexia and dysgraphia, check out the Snap&Read and Co:Writer extensions.

  • ViewSonic’s myViewBoard is an interactive, cloud-based whiteboard teachers can use to engage students. And it now integrates with Classroom and Drive.

  • BeeLine's reading tool is a Chrome extension that improves reading fluency and reading comprehension by displaying text using a color gradient that draws the reader’s eyes from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.

TIP: Once settings on a Chromebook are customized for a student, they’re applied every time they log in on any managed Chrome OS device. Bookmark this handy guide about Google’s accessibility tools for the classroom. 

Connect and collaborate in new ways

Virtual communication and collaboration are skills that students will use throughout their lives. With Chromebooks, they can cement these skills as they collaborate with peers in apps and sites or built-in ones like Docs, Sheets and Slides. Here are a few recently-updated apps that teachers can use to engage students while fostering communication and collaboration:

  • Remind, a communication app designed to connect parents, guardians, educators and others who matter to student success, has integrated connected accounts in Classroom and Drive. 

  • Kami, a PDF and document annotation app that fosters collaboration, now integrates with the Classroom grading page. Kami assignments are categorized to support Classroom’s topics.

  • Nearpod, a platform for creating engaging lessons or using existing ones, now lets you embed and edit activities directly within Google Slides.

TIP: Different devices work for different types of students. A rugged laptop, for example, can work well for young students. Touchscreen tablets with stylus compatibility and cameras in the front and back, on the other hand, work for students conducting science experiments or creating artistic masterpieces. With different options, you can customize the outside as much as you customize the inside. 

Schools pick Chromebooks because they are versatile, affordable and easy to manage. When you give an admin a fleet of Chromebooks with the Chrome Education Upgrade, they can easily and securely deploy and manage any number of devices from one cloud-based console. And they no longer need to worry about updating devices. Chromebooks update automatically and have multi-layered security, so—like students—they continue to improve over time. Read more about why admins love Chromebooks, and explore Chromebooks built for education and a range of apps that transform them into learning devices.

What’s new in Chrome OS: better audio, camera and notifications

Every Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, which updates every six weeks to keep your device speedy, smart and secure. Each Chrome OS update happens in the background, without interrupting what you’re doing. Here’s some of what’s new on Chromebook this August.

Control your media in one place

New media controls make it easier for you to pause or play sound from a tab or an app. Have you ever had dozens of tabs and apps open and struggled to turn off a specific tab’s audio? If so, we think you’ll find this change helpful—especially for those moments when you start watching a YouTube video and you want to quickly pause your music.

Starting this month, you can open your system menu and see all of the tabs or apps on your Chromebook that are playing audio tracks and control them from one place.

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Take great photos on your Chromebook

The Chromebook camera app has been updated to make taking photos and videos easier. Portrait mode is now available on Google Pixel Slate and we are working on bringing it to other Chromebooks. We’ve introduced an updated interface for navigating between new modes, like square mode and portrait mode.

Now, open your camera app, take a selfie with a landscape or square crop, and access it easily in your Downloads folder.

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Clear your notifications faster

With Chrome OS, you can access all your favorite apps from the Google Play Store. In response to your feedback, it’s now easier for you to check and clear notifications from Play Store apps on your Chromebook. Starting this month, easily dismiss your notifications with the “Clear all” button.

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We’ll be back in around six weeks to share more of what’s new in Chrome OS.