Author Archives: Alexander Kuscher

New video editing and productivity features coming to Chromebook

Today we’re announcing new features and apps for Chromebook to take your creativity and productivity to the next level. Whether you’re enjoying your favorite music or movies, creating a vacation highlight reel or powering through work, Chromebook lets you do it all with speed, security and ease — right out of the box.

Over the next few months we’ll roll out new Chromebook features, including video editing tools in the Google Photos app to help you showcase your summer adventures, enhanced app capabilities and features to help you get organized and get things done.

Get in the director’s chair with Google Photos

Share your favorite memories with friends and family and bring your creativity to life with Google Photos’ new movie editor and video editing features — available first on Chromebook this fall.

The upcoming Google Photos movie editor displays on the screen. In the center is a still from a video clip of two people bicycles, with an editing menu open to let the user adjust brightness, contrast, whitepoints and more.

A peek at Google Photos’ new movie editor coming to Chromebook (UI subject to change)

Creating an end-to-end movie made up of multiple video clips, photos, a title card and music can come with a learning curve and take a lot of time. But Google Photos’ revamped movie creation tools help you make high-quality movies with just a few taps. You’ll be able to create beautiful movies from suggested themes, or put yourself in the director’s seat and start from scratch, right on your Chromebook.

Start by selecting a theme and the people (or pets!) you’d like to feature, and Google Photos will make a movie with both video clips and photos. It even intelligently selects the most meaningful moments from your long videos.

For those who like more creative control, you can also build your own movie from scratch with the Google Photos movie editor. Google Photos’ search capabilities make it easy to select, then arrange photos and clips in the order you’d like.

Whether you start from a theme or a blank slate, you’ll be able to trim video clips, or edit them to adjust the brightness, contrast and more. Or you can apply one of the Real Tone filters we added earlier this year – these filters were made to work well across skin tones, so you can choose from a wide assortment of looks to find one that reflects your style. You can also add finishing touches, like music and a title card, to make your movie shine.

GIF walks through the steps of creating a movie from a suggested theme on Google Photos. “Friendship movie” is selected, then two people are chosen – from there, a movie is produced using clips of these people.

Select a theme, like “Friendship movie”, and choose who you want to include and Google Photos will create a movie with clips and photos (UI subject to change)

Google Photos integrates with Chromebook’s Gallery and Files apps, so if you open a video in the Gallery app, you can continue editing it in Google Photos with a tap. You can also use images and videos saved on your Chromebook in the movies you make on the Google Photos app.

And for professional-grade video editing, the LumaFusion app is also coming to Chromebooks. LumaFusion’s multitrack video editor lets you add graphics, visual effects, transitions and distortions, audio tracks and sound effects, narration, color grading and more.

No matter what kind of movie you want to create, from a summer highlight reel to a short film, Chromebook’s versatile and easy-to-use tools and apps have you covered.

Meet new apps, and get more out of your favorites

Whether you’re diving into forecasting at work or preparing and planning for back-to-school season, Chromebook’s preinstalled apps are ready to help. Here are a few new ones we recommend trying out:

  • Gallery app. We’re introducing new PDF editing features to Gallery, Chomebook’s default media app, so you can fill out forms, highlight text, sign documents and add text annotations. No more printing and scanning just to sign a form. You’ll start to see this roll out next week.
  • Screencast app. Anyone can now use Screencast to record, view and share transcribed videos and presentations, whether it’s a virtual lesson or a how-to video or demo.
  • Cursive app. Capture, edit and organize handwritten notes on stylus-enabled Chromebooks. When it's time to share, you can quickly copy and paste your notes into another app or send as a PDF.
A PDF of a lease agreement is on the screen. It’s been highlighted and signatures have been added.

Using the Gallery app you’ll be able to annotate, highlight, edit, and sign PDFs.

And of course, when it’s time to go back to school or catch up on work after a long summer vacation, Google Workspace apps — like Docs, Calendar, Meet and Chat — are already on Chromebook. Whether you’re catching up on emails or collaborating on a group project you paused weeks ago, all of your files will be waiting on Google Drive. And when you want to kick back and relax, entertainment apps are just a tap away. Check the latest trends on YouTube, update your “Summer 2022” playlist on YouTube Music or play a game on Stadia.

A GIF of logos of Chromebook’s preinstalled apps, including Docs, Sheets, Gallery, Camera, Meet, and more.

For creativity, easy-to-use design tools like Canva, Figma and Adobe Express are made to work easily on Chromebook so you can create everything from beautiful presentations to professional-looking social media posts. Apps like FL Studio help you arrange, record, mix and master quality music, and add instruments like synthesizers, drum kits and more.

For a little more support in and out of class, Evernote helps you keep your life organized with great note-taking, project planning and easy ways to find what you’re looking for. Plus, get expert advice to help you succeed from Outlier.org, which provides world-class online college education from the founders of MasterClass. And you have 1000+ powerful PC games on NVIDIA GeForce NOW and Luna to help you unwind.

Check out special offers on some of these apps and others — perfect for college students heading back to school in the U.S.

Manage your life and make Chromebook your own

Recently we’ve added new ways to help you get things done easily, like the newly redesigned Launcher that lets you find what you need with the press of a button, and additions to cross-device features like Phone Hub and Nearby Share. In the next few months, we’re also rolling out some new organization and productivity features to help you manage your schedule and stay focused, with some new ways to personalize your Chromebook.

We’re keeping busy through the rest of the summer making Chromebook even more useful and powerful. We’ll be back to share more updates soon.

New video editing and productivity features coming to Chromebook

Today we’re announcing new features and apps for Chromebook to take your creativity and productivity to the next level. Whether you’re enjoying your favorite music or movies, creating a vacation highlight reel or powering through work, Chromebook lets you do it all with speed, security and ease — right out of the box.

Over the next few months we’ll roll out new Chromebook features, including video editing tools in the Google Photos app to help you showcase your summer adventures, enhanced app capabilities and features to help you get organized and get things done.

Get in the director’s chair with Google Photos

Share your favorite memories with friends and family and bring your creativity to life with Google Photos’ new movie editor and video editing features — available first on Chromebook this fall.

The upcoming Google Photos movie editor displays on the screen. In the center is a still from a video clip of two people bicycles, with an editing menu open to let the user adjust brightness, contrast, whitepoints and more.

A peek at Google Photos’ new movie editor coming to Chromebook (UI subject to change)

Creating an end-to-end movie made up of multiple video clips, photos, a title card and music can come with a learning curve and take a lot of time. But Google Photos’ revamped movie creation tools help you make high-quality movies with just a few taps. You’ll be able to create beautiful movies from suggested themes, or put yourself in the director’s seat and start from scratch, right on your Chromebook.

Start by selecting a theme and the people (or pets!) you’d like to feature, and Google Photos will make a movie with both video clips and photos. It even intelligently selects the most meaningful moments from your long videos.

For those who like more creative control, you can also build your own movie from scratch with the Google Photos movie editor. Google Photos’ search capabilities make it easy to select, then arrange photos and clips in the order you’d like.

Whether you start from a theme or a blank slate, you’ll be able to trim video clips, or edit them to adjust the brightness, contrast and more. Or you can apply one of the Real Tone filters we added earlier this year – these filters were made to work well across skin tones, so you can choose from a wide assortment of looks to find one that reflects your style. You can also add finishing touches, like music and a title card, to make your movie shine.

GIF walks through the steps of creating a movie from a suggested theme on Google Photos. “Friendship movie” is selected, then two people are chosen – from there, a movie is produced using clips of these people.

Select a theme, like “Friendship movie”, and choose who you want to include and Google Photos will create a movie with clips and photos (UI subject to change)

Google Photos integrates with Chromebook’s Gallery and Files apps, so if you open a video in the Gallery app, you can continue editing it in Google Photos with a tap. You can also use images and videos saved on your Chromebook in the movies you make on the Google Photos app.

And for professional-grade video editing, the LumaFusion app is also coming to Chromebooks. LumaFusion’s multitrack video editor lets you add graphics, visual effects, transitions and distortions, audio tracks and sound effects, narration, color grading and more.

No matter what kind of movie you want to create, from a summer highlight reel to a short film, Chromebook’s versatile and easy-to-use tools and apps have you covered.

Meet new apps, and get more out of your favorites

Whether you’re diving into forecasting at work or preparing and planning for back-to-school season, Chromebook’s preinstalled apps are ready to help. Here are a few new ones we recommend trying out:

  • Gallery app. We’re introducing new PDF editing features to Gallery, Chomebook’s default media app, so you can fill out forms, highlight text, sign documents and add text annotations. No more printing and scanning just to sign a form. You’ll start to see this roll out next week.
  • Screencast app. Anyone can now use Screencast to record, view and share transcribed videos and presentations, whether it’s a virtual lesson or a how-to video or demo.
  • Cursive app. Capture, edit and organize handwritten notes on stylus-enabled Chromebooks. When it's time to share, you can quickly copy and paste your notes into another app or send as a PDF.
A PDF of a lease agreement is on the screen. It’s been highlighted and signatures have been added.

Using the Gallery app you’ll be able to annotate, highlight, edit, and sign PDFs.

And of course, when it’s time to go back to school or catch up on work after a long summer vacation, Google Workspace apps — like Docs, Calendar, Meet and Chat — are already on Chromebook. Whether you’re catching up on emails or collaborating on a group project you paused weeks ago, all of your files will be waiting on Google Drive. And when you want to kick back and relax, entertainment apps are just a tap away. Check the latest trends on YouTube, update your “Summer 2022” playlist on YouTube Music or play a game on Stadia.

A GIF of logos of Chromebook’s preinstalled apps, including Docs, Sheets, Gallery, Camera, Meet, and more.

For creativity, easy-to-use design tools like Canva, Figma and Adobe Express are made to work easily on Chromebook so you can create everything from beautiful presentations to professional-looking social media posts. Apps like FL Studio help you arrange, record, mix and master quality music, and add instruments like synthesizers, drum kits and more.

For a little more support in and out of class, Evernote helps you keep your life organized with great note-taking, project planning and easy ways to find what you’re looking for. Plus, get expert advice to help you succeed from Outlier.org, which provides world-class online college education from the founders of MasterClass. And you have 1000+ powerful PC games on NVIDIA GeForce NOW and Luna to help you unwind.

Check out special offers on some of these apps and others — perfect for college students heading back to school in the U.S.

Manage your life and make Chromebook your own

Recently we’ve added new ways to help you get things done easily, like the newly redesigned Launcher that lets you find what you need with the press of a button, and additions to cross-device features like Phone Hub and Nearby Share. In the next few months, we’re also rolling out some new organization and productivity features to help you manage your schedule and stay focused, with some new ways to personalize your Chromebook.

We’re keeping busy through the rest of the summer making Chromebook even more useful and powerful. We’ll be back to share more updates soon.

Your Chromebook now works better with your other devices

During CES and I/O this year, we announced a few new Android and Chromebook features designed to help your phone and laptop work better together. Soon you’ll see some of those features roll out to your Chromebooks so you can try them yourself.

Easily access your recent photos

When you’re trying to stay on task, there’s nothing more distracting than switching between your phone and your laptop to get something done. Last year, we introduced Phone Hub, a built-in control center that lets you respond to text messages, check your phone’s battery, turn on tethering and more, all from your Chromebook.

With the latest update, you’ll now also have instant access to the latest photos you took on your phone — even if you’re offline. After taking a picture on your phone, it will automatically appear within Phone Hub on your laptop under “recent photos.” Just click on the image to download it, then it’s ready to be added to a document or email.

No more sending yourself emails with pictures or going through multiple steps to get an image from your phone to your laptop. The next time you’re recapping yesterday’s hike in an email to your friends, you can easily add your best photos to the message, without ever having to pick up your phone.

A zoomed in Chromebook Phone Hub exaggerates the new section called “Recent photos”.

In Phone Hub, you can see recent pictures that were shot on your Android phone.

Coming soon: connect headphones with a tap

Bluetooth-enabled headphones help you stay connected without wires, but that can be difficult when you can’t figure out how to set them up. We’ve all been there – trying to decipher the deeper meaning of tiny blue pulsing LEDs. With Fast Pair coming later this summer, it’s easier than ever to sync headphones or other compatible accessories to your Chromebook.

Just turn on your Chromebook’s Bluetooth, and it will automatically detect when a new pair of Bluetooth headphones are on, are nearby and are ready to be set up. A pop-up notification will appear and with one tap, your new accessory is connected and ready to go. No more digging through settings or struggling to figure out the right button to press to pair your headphones. Fast Pair also saves the connection to your Google Account, so both your Chromebook or a new Android phone will remember your headphones and seamlessly connect to them in the future.

Whether you want to use new headphones to watch a video, join a virtual meeting or listen to music, Fast Pair will make it hassle-free. This feature will be compatible with hundreds of different headphone models — and counting.

An image of a Chromebook showing a notification that headphones are ready to pair. An image of Pixel Buds floats over the picture.

Fast Pair on Chromebook will work with hundreds of headphones, including Pixel Buds.

Plus, share your ideas with Screencast

In case you missed it, earlier this month we announced the new, built-in Screencast app. Screencast lets anyone record, trim, and share transcribed videos automatically uploaded to Google Drive. You can even draw or write on the screen as you record using a touchscreen or stylus to diagram or illustrate key concepts.

Screencast makes it easy for anyone to record instructional videos, software demos, presentations, and more. It will start rolling out this week, so give it a go by tapping the Everything Button and searching for the Screencast app.

Later this year, we’ll introduce even more helpful features that will make all of your devices work better together. In the meantime, we’ll be back to share more exciting Chromebook announcements this summer. Stay tuned.

Look closer and take better notes with your Chromebook

With the latest update to your Chromebook, we’re introducing a note-taking app, features that improve screen magnification and more. Whether you’re using your laptop for work or fun, these handy features will help you get things done your way.

Take better notes with Cursive

Say goodbye to taking notes with pen and paper. Last year, we launched Cursive on select devices and now we’re excited to roll it out to all Chromebooks that work with a stylus.

The Cursive app makes it easy to capture, edit and organize handwritten notes on your Chromebook. Beyond just handwriting, you can also sketch out drawings, or paste images within your notes. And you can keep related content together by sorting notes into custom notebooks for different projects. When it's time to share your idea with others, you can quickly copy and paste it into another app or send a PDF.

If you write a sentence that fits better on a different part of the page, that’s not a problem – easily move it by circling the content on the page and dragging it to wherever you like. Didn’t quite perfect your drawing the first time? Erase it by scribbling over it with your stylus. And if you need to add more notes to the top of the page, just draw a horizontal line and drag your content down to free up more space. Try doing that with a pen and piece of paper!

In the coming months we’ll also introduce features for more personalization, like more easily changing the thickness, style and color of the stylus stroke.

Cursive will be preinstalled on all eligible Chromebooks – just tap the Everything Button and search for the app – or you can download it by going to cursive.apps.chrome and tap “install” in the toolbar. Check out this list of most stylus-enabled Chromebooks and see if you can try out Cursive.

Animation of the Cursive app in action. A stylus circles then drags to move one word, then scribbles out another word to remove it.

The Cursive app makes taking and editing notes easy.

Improvements to magnification and panning

We zoomed in on your feedback and are rolling out magnification customization on Chromebooks. Currently, the docked magnifier feature creates a split screen: the bottom half is your standard screen, and the top half is the zoomed in version of your screen. This is especially helpful if you have a vision impairment and want to zoom in on just part of your screen.

With our new update, you can control the size of the magnified portion of the screen. You can make it larger if you want to see more zoomed in content, or smaller if you want to see more of the standard screen. You can adapt it to fit your preferences, or adjust based on the content you’re looking at.

Animation of a resizing the docked magnifier. The user grabs the bar at the bottom of the magnified area and drags it down so that a larger part of the screen is shown magnified.

Now you can resize the docked the magnifier so you can see just the part you want.

Recently, we also made updates to the panning experience. With continuous panning, when you move your cursor the rest of the screen will follow it. And if it’s more convenient, you can also use your keyboard to control panning by pressing ctrl + alt + arrow keys.

Alerts for USB-C cables with limited functionality

We’ve all been there before. You try to use a spare USB-C cable to connect a docking station or monitor to your laptop and it just doesn’t seem to work. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a faulty cable. Many USB-C cables look identical, but function differently.

Now you can get your extra monitor up and running with less headache. Eligible Chromebooks will notify you if the USB-C cable you're using won’t support displays, or isn’t performing ideally for your laptop. You’ll also get a notification if the cable you’re using doesn’t support the high performance USB4/Thunderbolt 3 standards that your Chromebook does.

To kick things off, this feature is available on Chromebooks with 11th or 12th generation Intel Core CPUs with USB4 or Thunderbolt capability, with more devices to come. You can learn more about the best cables to use with your device in the support center.

A notification on a Chromebook says “Cable may not support displays. Your USB-C cable may not connect to displays properly.”

You’ll now get a notification if the USB-C cable you’re using doesn’t support your displays.

We hope you like using these new features as much as we do. We’ll be back soon with more updates.

Celebrating update 100 with new Chromebook features

Thanks to regular automatic updates, Chromebooks are always stepping up their game. Each Chrome OS update helps your laptop (and you) get things done faster, easier and more securely.

And you might have noticed we’ve had a lot of them. In fact, Chrome OS officially hit update 100 this week. In celebration of the big 1-0-0, we’re sharing a few announcements to improve Chromebooks for everyone — whether you’re using them to work, learn, manage a business or just kick back and relax.

Find more with the new Launcher

With a quick press of the Everything Button on your keyboard or the circle icon on the bottom left corner of your screen, Chromebook’s Launcher has made it easy to search for your apps and files — and even find answers online. And now, Launcher is getting an updated design and enhanced search functionality to help you more easily find what you’re looking for.

First, you’ll notice that Launcher will open on the side of your screen instead of from the bottom — leaving more space for any windows you have open. You’ll also be able to organize your apps by name or color, or manually arrange them in any order you like. And when you download a new app, it will follow the same organizational style.

Searching with Launcher is also getting easier. Looking for that celebrity name on the tip of your tongue? Before, Launcher would show you a short preview of your search result. Now, it will show even more information — so you can check the weather or find that celebrity name, all without leaving Launcher. You can also quickly search for Chromebook shortcuts, like how to take a screenshot or turn on caps lock.

GIF of new Launcher UI zooms in to show the Launcher activated on the left side of the screen, then scrolls through a grid of apps. User types “Steph Curry” and more information about the basketball star appears right in the interface.

Launcher now provides even more information when you search

If you work with a lot of Chrome browser tabs and windows open (no judgment), it can be difficult to find the exact one you’re looking for. Instead of sifting through your tabs for that crossword puzzle you started this morning, a quick search in the new Launcher will direct you to the right open tab.

Keep an eye out for the new Launcher, rolling out to all Chromebooks soon.

Discover your next Chromebook

Our partners HP, Lenovo, Acer and ASUS recently announced several powerful Chromebooks to help you make the most of Chrome OS now and in future updates. Check out a few of our favorites, available for purchase in the next few months:

  • HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook: Designed for a premium productivity experience, with features like a haptic trackpad, an integrated privacy screen, 5G and support for a wirelessly chargeable magnetic Stylus pen
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 513: The first Chromebook to feature the MediaTek Kompanio 1380 processor, bringing together power and efficiency with up to 10 hours of battery life
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5: Made for productivity and entertainment with 12th Gen Intel Core processors, a 16-inch nano-edge display and Harmon-Kardon certified speakers
  • Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook: Built with productivity in mind and comes with powerful processors, a 1080p webcam and a stunning 14-inch 16:10 FHD display

Four Chromebooks are shown in a row on a white background. They are labeled, from left to right: Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook, HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook, Acer Chromebook Spin 513, ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5

Recently announced Chromebooks from Lenovo, HP, Acer and ASUS

Make edits with your voice

You might already use the Dictation feature, where you can dictate text anywhere you would normally type on your Chromebook — like in an email or on your browser. Now, you can also edit using your voice. Simply say “delete” to delete the last letter, or “move to next character” to adjust where your cursor is on the screen. Or, if you’re not sure what command to use, say “help” and your Chromebook will give you ideas. Once you’ve enabled “Dictation” in Settings, try it out by pressing the Everything Button + D.

A zoomed-in Chromebook screen shows the text “Hello! How are your.” The letter “R” is highlighted and an on-screen command indicates this letter is about to be deleted using voice dictation.

Use your voice to edit dictated text on Chromebooks

Create and share your own GIF

Instead of digging through the internet to find that perfect GIF, you can now make your own right in the Chromebook Camera app. Simply open the Camera app, select “Video” and flip the toggle to “GIF.” Record a five-second video and when you’re done, it will automatically convert to an animated GIF. Share it through email and other apps on your Chromebook, or send it to your Android phone using Nearby Share.

Grab a friend, or a pet, and make your own GIF on the Chromebook Camera app

Continue learning at home

Thanks to new Chromebook updates, students can easily review what they learned at school that day. With school accounts for Family Link, parents and guardians can add a Google for Education account for kids to access Google Classroom and other school resources on supervised Chromebooks at home. And with so many teachers sharing educational YouTube videos during class, parent supervision to YouTube is now available for Family Link users on Chromebooks. Plus, a new YouTube app for Chrome OS allows offline playback, so students can keep up with their lessons even without access to Wi-Fi at home or on long car rides and flights.

See more device insights

We’re also making it easier for IT administrators to keep their organization’s devices running smoothly.

Within Google Admin console, we’ve added a new report for a quick look at which devices need attention. Meanwhile, the new Chrome Management Telemetry API provides more detailed information about device performance so you can create your own personalized report. This complements the existing Chrome Policy API, which allows IT admins to quickly apply policies across a fleet of devices.

Go cloud-first and reduce e-waste

Chrome OS Flex is a new, free-to-download operating system that brings the speed, simplicity, manageability and proactive security of Chrome OS to PCs and Macs. Built for businesses and schools, it allows you to modernize PCs and Macs with a cloud-first operating system and reduces e-waste by extending the lifespan of older devices. Since early access availability in February, we’ve verified more than 100 devices to work with Chrome OS Flex and brought it into beta. Try it out and share your feedback.

We’ll be back to share more Chromebooks and features to help you personalize your laptop and work even better across multiple devices. And of course, we look forward to bringing you the next 100 Chrome OS updates.

Do even more with your Chromebook camera

This summer, we shared an update about how we’re continuing to improve video calling on Chromebooks, thanks to performance improvements across Google Meet, Zoom and more. And the camera on your Chromebook is good for more than just video chatting. Hundreds of millions of images and videos have been captured using the Chromebook Camera app so far this year.

Today, we’re sharing a few features that make your Chromebook’s camera even more useful.

Scan documents and more

Have you ever wanted to use your Chromebook to share a physical document or image, but weren’t sure how without the help of a scanner? You can now use your Chromebook’s built-in camera to scan any document and turn it into a PDF or JPEG file. If your Chromebook comes with a front and back facing camera, you can use either of these to scan.

Open the Camera app and select “Scan” mode. When you hold out the document you want to scan in front of the camera, the edges will be automatically detected. Once it’s done, it’s easy to share through Gmail, to social media or to nearby Android phones or Chromebooks using Nearby Share.

Chromebook Camera app in “Scan” mode scanning a hard copy document.

You can now scan files using your Chromebook’s built-in camera.

Personalize your camera angle

If you use an external camera with your Chromebook, you can use the Pan-Tilt-Zoom feature to have more control over what your camera captures. You can now crop and angle your camera view exactly how you want it. Whether you want to show your furry friend napping in the background or just want to zoom in on yourself, your Chromebook’s got you covered.

With your external camera plugged in and configured, open the Camera app to adjust the angle you want to capture. Your selections will automatically save so when you jump from a Google Meet work call to making a video with your new puppy, your camera angle preferences will stay the same.

Man sitting on the floor uses the Pan-Tilt-Zoom feature open on the left hand side of the screen to adjust the camera angle.

With Pan-Tilt-Zoom you can adjust your camera angle to capture only what you want.

Try other Camera app features

In addition to taking pictures or scanning documents with your Chromebook’s camera, here are a few other features to test out:

  • Video mode. If you want to send a quick message to a loved one for their birthday, record a video by clicking on the “Video” mode.
  • Self timer. You don’t need to be within arm’s length of your laptop to take a picture. Set the timer, and you can take a few steps back to get the perfect shot.
  • QR Code. In addition to new document scanning, you can also use the “Scan” option to scan QR codes. It works just like document scanning, so use your front or back facing camera to scan a QR code.
  • Save for later. All your pictures and videos will automatically save to the “Camera” folder in your Files app for easy access later.

And coming soon…

Starting early next year, you’ll be able to create GIFs on the Camera app. Just record a five-second video dancing around with friends, hugging your loved ones, or playing with your favorite pet, and it will automatically turn into a shareable GIF.

If you’re interested in getting a sneak peak and providing feedback on Chromebook features before they launch, join our Chrome OS Beta Community. Sign-up here to be a Chrome OS Beta Tester Product Expert. Currently in Beta is a feature that integrates the Camera app with the Google Assistant. Just say “take a photo,” “record video” or “take a selfie” – you can even use Google Assistant to open the Camera app, so you don’t have to lift a finger.

We’ll be back in the new year to share more new Chromebook features.

Chromebook keeps important files at your fingertips

We’ve all taken a screenshot, only to have it disappear in a sea of icons on our desktop. Or downloaded a file to a computer…and struggled to find it again. And it can be hard to stay on task when you have to dig to find the document you need.

That’s why earlier this year, we introduced Tote – a holding area on your Chromebook shelf that keeps your important files right at your fingertips. Since we launched Tote, we’ve made it even better, with updates like access to files you’ve scanned, diagnostic reports, saved PDFs and more.

Here are a few tips to keep yourself organized and productive with Tote:

Pin important files for quick access

When you open Tote from your Chromebook’s shelf, you’ll find recent screenshots and downloads – files most people will want access to right away. If you want to keep a specific file handy indefinitely, click to “pin” it to Tote. 

If you’re working on a project for a few weeks and know you’ll want to add the same logo across several presentations, spreadsheets and emails – just pin it. When you need the logo, drag and drop it from Tote into your document. It’s much faster than searching through your files every time. Plus, you can select and share multiple files from Tote at once.

Pin as many files as you’d like, and once you’re done with them, you can un-pin or remove them from Tote altogether with a right-click.

A zoomed in look at Tote, which has several files pinned, including a Logo, a zip file, and a GIF.

 In Tote, you can pin files that you want to access frequently and easily.

Easily accessible (and shareable) screenshots

Tote also integrates well with other Chromebook features, like Screen Capture, to help you use your content right away. After taking a screenshot you can drag and drop straight from Tote, or find it saved in your clipboard alongside the last five items you copied. By pressing Everything Button + V you can paste the screenshot into a document or message – no dragging required.

Or if you need to make edits or annotations to your screenshot, just open it from Tote and get started. Any changes you make will be saved to the screenshot in Tote, so you can add more edits later if needed.


Automatically save scans 

Now when you use the Scan app to scan and save files to your Chromebook, they will also appear in Tote under “Downloads.” Our team likes to use the scanning tool to digitize old family recipes or upload a new lease agreement. Now that scanned files go directly to Tote, it’s even easier to open  or share them right away.

Along with new scans, other Chromebook downloads like the results of a Diagnostics test or downloads from an app will also save to Tote. 

A zoomed in look at Tote, with a file called “Lease_Agreement.pdf” in the “Downloads” section.

Now scanned files and reports from the Diagnostic App on Chromebook will automatically appear in Tote, under “Downloads.”

Shortcut to downloads

Tote was designed to keep your most recent files – the ones you’re most likely to use – easy to find and use. But if you need to find an older download, like a receipt or budget tracker from last week, Tote can help with that, too. 

The arrow next to “Downloads” in Tote is a shortcut to the Files app. With a click, the downloads section of the Files app will open, and you can scroll until you spot your lost budget tracker. To keep it on hand, right-click and select “pin to shelf” or drag it to the Tote icon on your shelf.

A GIF that shows a user right clicking on a spreadsheet and saving it to Tote.

From the Files app, right click or drag a file to Tote to pin it.

See Tote contents at a glance

Tote is built right into your Chromebook shelf, so you have easy access to your files when you need them, and it’s not in the way when you don’t.  On your shelf you’ll also notice up to three circles showing a preview of any recently added screenshots or downloads, so you have a visual reminder of what content is in Tote without needing to open it. If you want to get rid of the preview circles on your shelf, right-click on them and opt to hide previews.

Later this year, we’re also adding your file’s download status in both the shelf preview and in Tote. With a quick look you’ll be able to see how close your file is to being ready.

In Tote, two files are in progress downloading, one video and one spreadsheet.

 Soon you’ll be able to see download status for files in Tote.

Keep an eye out as we continue to add even more helpful productivity tools to Chromebooks. 

Express yourself and connect with others on Chromebooks

Many people this past year used Chromebooks to keep in touch with family and friends, stay entertained and work or learn from home. Today, we’re introducing a few new features that make connecting and communicating with others — on video chat or through text — even easier.

Improved video calls on your Chromebook

With more people now relying on video calls, we’ve improved the experience to help make sure you’ll have smooth conversations on any Chromebook and your favorite app. 

With Chrome OS’s latest update, Google Meet will be pre-installed on all Chromebooks, so it’s easy to launch into the app and get on a video call right from the Launcher. Google Meet includes exciting features, like video backgrounds, that make meetings more inclusive and fun. We’ve also made performance improvements like adapting video calls to different network conditions and adjusting video performance during screen sharing.  

Screen showing a five-person video call in progress on Google Meet.

 The new Google Meet app on Chromebook

Recently we partnered with Zoom to launch an improved version of the app for Chromebooks on the Google Play Store. This new version delivers faster performance, takes up less storage and includes latest features such as breakout rooms, live transcription and a new background masking feature for privacy. 

Plus, you can find other apps for video calling to suit your specific needs. For example, you can connect with teams remotely on Jitsi-Meet or hang out with friends and family on Houseparty. And to make your video calls even better, you can add Works With Chromebook certified accessories to your setup, including web cameras and headsets from partners like Logitech, EPOS and Lenovo.

Express yourself with emoji  👍  

Earlier this month, Google celebrated World Emoji Day by announcing more shareable and inclusive emoji. Now we’ve made it even easier to express yourself with emoji on Chromebooks with a new shortcut and emoji picker.

On your Chromebook, use the new keyboard shortcut (Search or Launcher key + Shift + Space) to bring up the compact emoji picker. From there, you can see your recently used emoji and scroll to discover others. With a click, the perfect emoji is inserted into a conversation, document, or any text field on your Chromebook. 

We’ve also made it easier to search for an emoji (currently only available in English) and view related options. Setting up a calendar invitation for coffee? Open the picker, type “coffee,” then select the emoji you want. ☕️  🤯

The emoji picker is pulled up and shows recently used emoji, the search bar and a scrollable list of emoji to choose from.

Search for emoji then add them to text fields with Chromebook’s new emoji picker.

Keep in touch – from anywhere

Chrome OS now supports eSIM for cellular connectivity. With eSIM, you can download and switch between carrier profiles without having to insert or remove a physical SIM card from your laptop. This will be particularly helpful if you need to connect to a cellular network but can’t run to the store for a SIM card, and for international travelers who frequently switch between networks.

This feature is only available on eSIM-compatible Chromebooks, like the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 and Acer Chromebook 511. To get started on these devices, go to Settings, then "Mobile data" in the "Network" section, and add a connection.

A dialog box prompts a user to take a picture of a QR Code during network setup.

You can use a QR Code to help set up the new cellular network on your Chromebook.

Celebrate togetherness

This month we’re also introducing a new collection of wallpapers from three Black artists, Aurelia Durand, Sabrena Khadija and Meech Boakye. Each artist created wallpapers inspired by the concept of togetherness. Their lively designs reflect connections between family and friends, empowering and uplifting one’s community, and the experience of being in nature. 

To try them out, just right-click your desktop and choose “Set wallpaper,” then select “Togetherness.”

Discover new ways to create and play on your Chromebook

For parents looking to keep their kids entertained and engaged, the Explore app on Chromebooks now includes a digital magazine curated for kids and families. Each issue will be packed with educational apps to help kids discover new ways to create and play on their Chromebooks.

 The first issue focuses on game design, and in addition to suggesting apps to help kids learn how to design and code their own games, it also features an interview with game creator Jesse Schell. Keep an eye out for future updates with more expert interviews and other themes to inspire kids’ creativity.

This digital magazine is currently only available for Family Link users in the United States. Find it in the Explore app, under “Discover.”

A GIF scrolls through the new issue titled “Explore game design on your Chromebook”. It shows a round up of educational apps and games, and has a video with came creator Jesse Schell.

The digital magazine exclusive to Chromebook within the Explore app

We’ll be back soon to share more new Chromebook features. 😎 

How the Chromebook team uses Nearby Share

Earlier this year we announced that Nearby Share is coming to Chromebooks, so you can quickly and securely share files between your Chromebook and other Chrome OS or Android devices. It’s rolling out today, alongside new additions like wallpapers, app notifications and an easier way to share files for offline use.

Our colleagues on the Chrome OS team have been using Nearby Share for some time now, so we asked them how they use it to share images, transfer files and get things done.

Sharing images and content with family and friends

“My wife and I are avid travelers: the more off the beaten path, the better! At the end of each vacation day, we combine our photos and choose the best to share with friends and family back home, which isn’t always possible when we’re camping or staying somewhere without internet.  With Nearby Share, now we can transfer photos between our devices offline, so we’re always ready to share that special memory.” – Jesse Johnston, product manager

“My pandemic hobby is de-stressing by surfing real estate listings. With Nearby Share I’ll be able to conveniently share screenshots, links and photos of home decor from my Chromebook to my husband’s even when he’s only five feet away from me in our tiny apartment.”– Shiba Sheikh, design lead

“Spring weather has arrived and I’m spending more time outdoors with friends. Since we’re staying socially distant, I’m looking forward to using Nearby Share to show them my dog’s latest trick: jumping through a hoop. I also appreciate that I can choose to keep my contact details hidden, so my information stays private.” – Shea Ritchie, product marketing

Transferring files between Chrome OS and Android devices

“As a software engineer, I often have to troubleshoot an issue on one device using data collected from a different device. So it’s really helpful that Nearby Share works seamlessly across Chromebooks and Android phones.” – Kyle Horimoto, engineer

“Nearby Share recently came in handy when I was helping my kids with a school project on ‘Fascinating Birds.’ On my phone, we found and edited the perfect image of a peregrine falcon. In a few taps I shared the image with a Chromebook, and it became the opening slide of their presentation.” – Vishal Ohri, technical program manager

Helping people get things done more easily

“Like many people, I often switch between my phone and laptop. My favorite part of testing Nearby Share has been the ability to quickly share not just files or MP3s, but also text snippets and URLs, without the effort and hassle of emailing myself. I like to send news articles or shopping links from my phone to my Chromebook so I can read or comparison shop on a larger screen.” – Ryan Hansberry, engineer

“The team was excited when Nearby Share was stable enough to start to use – we actually used Nearby Share as an internal tool to help us finish building Nearby Share! I like that it lets me bypass email’s attachment size limit, so it’s fast and easy to securely send multiple files at once.” – Josh Nohle, engineer

A few more new things on Chromebooks this month...

See which of your apps need your attention with a glance. A small circular badge will appear on an app icon to notify you that the app has active notifications available or something new for you to view. You can turn these badges off by visiting your Quick Settings and clicking “Notifications.” 

Image zooms in on several apps on a Chromebook, then small badges appear in the top right corner of the apps.

App badges make it easy to see if you have a notification.

We’ve added new wallpapers and account images for Chromebooks. Artist Leo Natsume  created these fun, digitally-sculpted designs. The bright, cheerful scenes are great for kids or adults. To check them out, go to Quick Settings, then “Personalization,” or right-click your desktop and select “Set wallpaper,” the “Imaginary.”

Save your Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files for offline access right from your Files app. Once you’ve saved a file, you can open and edit it even if you aren’t connected to the internet. To try it, go to your Files app, select the Drive files you want to save and flip the “Available offline” toggle on. You’ll see a check mark next to saved files, and you can also find them in the dedicated “Offline” folder. This feature will start rolling out later this month.

A user opens Chromebook’s Files app, then selects two flies to be saved for offline use.

Select Google Drive files for offline access, right in Chromebook’s Files app.

We’ll be back soon to share more new Chromebook features.

Your Chromebook gets a little more helpful

Chromebooks are designed to be powerful and easy-to-use devices. In our latest release, your Chromebook is getting new helpful features that make it easier to get answers, troubleshoot, scan files and more.

The answers you need, one tap away

You might already use your Launcher to search your Drive, your apps, local files, Google and more – all from one place. Now it can also be your go-to for simple calculations, looking up the weather, or checking a word definition or stock price.

Just tap the Everything Button and type “weather” or your math question into the search bar, and the result will automatically pop up. So you’ll quickly find out whether you need a sweater for your mid-afternoon walk, or what 42 times 96 is. There’s no need to open another Chrome browser tab or app to quickly get the answers you need.

“Weather” is typed into Chromebook’s Launcher search bar. Local weather results show up directly below.

When  you search for weather in the Launcher search bar, you’ll get local result results automatically.

Troubleshooting at your fingertips

Technology is great when it works well, but when it doesn’t, it can be hard to figure out what’s going on and how to fix it. To help you troubleshoot your Chromebook, we’re introducing the new Diagnostics app. It’s available on every Chromebook, and can be used to run tests and check the status of your laptop’s battery, CPU and memory. 

So if you notice your battery is draining faster than you’d expect, you can run a battery discharge test right in the Diagnostics app. In the app you’ll also get links to relevant support articles, and you can save the test results in a session log to share with customer support – if you end up needing it!

A battery test was just completed in the Diagnostics app.

The Diagnostics app lets you run tests on your Chromebook’s battery, CPU and memory.

Scan and edit more easily

We recently launched a new feature that will come in handy this extended tax season. With Chromebook’s new scanning feature, you can scan items directly from your printer to your laptop. So now it’s easy to digitize and save important documents like your home’s lease agreement or work receipts. 

To get started, make sure your printer has scanning functionality and that it’s connected to the internet. Search for the Scan app by tapping the Everything Button. Once the app is open you’ll be able to choose your printer, file type and resolution. You can scan to your Chromebook over Wi-Fi or directly through a USB connection. (Bluetooth scanning is not currently supported.) 

Once your file is finished scanning, you can review it in the dedicated folder in your Chromebook’s Files app, or open it in your default image viewer to edit, crop or resize. Learn more about connecting your printer to your Chromebook on our support site.

The “get started scanning” screen, where you can choose the source of and file type for the scan.

Easily scan files to your Chromebook.

Live Captions coming to Chromebooks

Last month Chrome Browser launched Live Captions, which automatically provide real-time captions for media with audio. These captions help make online content more accessible, whether you're in a noisy environment, trying to keep the volume down, or are hard of hearing.

Now we’re also expanding Live Captions to Chrome browsers on most Chrome OS devices in the coming weeks. To turn it on, go to Chromebook settings, then “Accessibility.”

We’ll have more to share about Chromebooks features in the future, so stay tuned!