Tag Archives: 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. 😎 

Safer learning with Google for Education

When the Google for Education team designs products, we put the safety, security and privacy needs of our users first. This means keeping schools’ data safer with built-in security features that provide automated protection, compliance visibility and control, to ensure a private, safe and secure learning environment. We aim to support and protect the entire education community, and particularly teachers and students, so they can focus on what matters most: teaching and learning.

Everything we build is guided by three important principles:

  1. Secure by default: Protecting your privacy starts with the world’s most advanced security. Even before you set up security controls for your school’s digital environment specific to your needs, our built-in security is automatically protecting you from threats, like ransomware. 

  2. Private by design: We uphold responsible data practices designed to respect your privacy. Our products can be used in compliance with the most rigorous data privacy standards, including FERPA, COPPA and GDPR.  Google does not use data from Google Workspace for Education Core Services for advertising purposes, and users’ personal information is never sold.

  3. You’re in control: You own your data in Core Workspace Services, which means that you retain full intellectual property rights over your customer data, and you control who can download it, and when. You can get real-time alerts so you can act immediately if an incident occurs, and customize the security dashboard to get reports on your security status at any time. 

Introducing new features to provide more visibility and control

To help admins and teachers as they build safe digital learning environments, we’re adding additional features to provide more visibility and control. We are also updating ourprivacy notice to to make it easier for teachers, parents and students to understand what information we collect and why we collect it. Nothing is changing about how your information is processed. Rather, we’ve improved the way we describe our practices and privacy controls with a simpler structure and clearer language.

Tailor access based on age

We’re launching a new age-based access setting to make it easier for admins to tailor experiences for their users based on age when using Google services like YouTube, Photos and Maps. Starting today, all admins from primary and secondary institutions must indicate which of their users, such as their teachers and staff, are 18 and older using organizational units or groups in Admin Console. After September 1, 2021, students who are under 18 will see changes in their experience across Google products. 

For example, after September 1, students designated as under 18 in K-12 domains can view YouTube content assigned by teachers, but they won’t be able to post videos, comment or live stream using their school Google account. Administrators should ensure that Google Takeout is turned on so that end users can download their data, like previously uploaded videos, using Google Takeout.

If admins don’t make a selection by September 1, primary and secondary institutions users will all default to the under-18 experience, while higher-education institutions users will default to the 18-and-older experience. These age-based settings are not locked and admins can always adjust them according to the age of their users.

New default experiences for Chrome users in K-12 institutions

Many schools already have policies in place for SafeSearch, SafeSites, Guest Mode and Incognito Mode, and we are updating their defaults to ensure a safer web browsing experience for K-12 institutions. Now, SafeSearch and SafeSites will be on by default, and Guest Mode and Incognito Mode will be off by default. Admins can still change each of these policies on Chrome OS for individual organization units, for example allowing the use of Guest Mode for users in their domain. 

The Google for Education team is committed to creating tools and services that are secure by default and private by design, all the while giving you complete control over your environment. 

Helping schools prepare for what’s next in education

Today at The Anywhere School, we shared great new ways to use Google Classroom, Google Workspace for Education, Google Meet, and Chrome OS - all focused on helping teachers and school leaders continue to do the amazing work they do.

Classroom is adapting for the future of learning and teaching

Classroom strives to be the simplest, easiest to use learning platform, but we’re continuously making improvements to make it even better. Roster Import will enable admins to set up classes at scale (and save a significant amount of time!) while Classroom add-ons will give educators a simple way to integrate their favorite content and activities. And the new student activity dashboard, the ability to schedule assignments across multiple classes and improvements to the Meet and Classroom integration will make it far easier to engage with students. Learn more in the Classroom blog.

Google Workspace for Education improves collaboration and security

Smart canvas makes Docs, Sheets and Slides more interactive and intelligent. With features like smart chips, checklists, table templates and assisted analysis, smart canvas enables stronger collaboration with anyone, from anywhere. We’re also strengthening the security of all Google Workspace for Education editions with Drive security improvements and additional advanced security for Education Plus and Education Standard customers. Learn more in the Workspace blog.

Google Meet is getting more secure, easy to use and engaging

Google Meet is adding features to continue supporting the evolving needs of school communities. Moderators and admins will have new controls, like the ability to force breakout room participants back into the main meeting and end any meeting from the investigation tool. Meet will also be easier to use now that it supports multiple moderators and the ability to pin multiple presenters at the same time. Video calls will be more engaging and inclusive with public live streaming to YouTube, hand-raising improvements and live translated captions. Learn more in the Meet blog.

Chromebooks get more personalized

As schools transition from shared Chromebook carts to assigned devices, they are also getting much easier to use and manage. Signing in securely is now a breeze with PIN logins. Admins can now easily see when Automatic Update Expiration dates are reached across their fleet with Chrome Insights Reports. And with new built-in accessibility features like Point Scanning mode with Switch Access, and the new panning method for the full-screen magnifier, teachers and students alike can present and access information in a way that works for them. Learn more in the Chromebook blog.

We are constantly humbled by the amazing ways educators use our tools to better collaborate, manage classes, and create safe learning environments. Whether you’re about to wrap up your school year or still have a few months left, we hope that by sharing these updates now, we can help you be better prepared to use these tools in your institution. To get regular product updates, please sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter.

Classroom adapts for the future of learning and teaching

Over the last year, the use of education technology skyrocketed as schools hustled to keep students learning. As some students return to their classrooms and others continue learning from home, we’re optimistic about the role education technology can play to help teachers and school leaders as they make up for lost time. 

We saw Classroom become a center for teaching and learning for millions of teachers and students this year, with many schools now using Classroom as their learning management system (LMS). This was only possible thanks to the support and feedback of teachers around the world. We were amazed by how quickly they learned the tools and put them into practice. 

Change in education is inevitable. As the needs of institutions evolve, Classroom will keep pace. Today, we’re sharing some important updates to features we previously shared on our roadmap as well as some new ones we developed with input from teachers and education leaders: 

Roster import:Starting this summer, U.S. districts with Google Workspace for Education Plus will be able to automatically set up classes and keep rosters in sync with their Student Information System, powered by Clever. IT admins will be able to create and populate classes via Clever, saving teachers valuable prep time. 

Classroom add-ons:Coming to beta later this year for districts with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade or Education Plus, Classroom add-ons allow you to bring your favorite content and activities from top edtech tools right inside Classroom. Admins will be able to pre-install add-ons for multiple teachers or groups at once.

We’re starting with nine partners including Adobe Spark for Education, BookWidgets, CK-12 Foundation, Edpuzzle, IXL, Kahoot!, Nearpod, Newsela and SAFARI Montage, with plans to expand to many more. Here's an example of how Bookwidgets is using add-ons to make it  easier for teachers to assign an activity and students to complete it, without ever leaving Classroom.

Animated gif showing the Bookwidget add-on right inside Classroom.

Scheduling assignments across multiple classes:Coming later this year, this top-requested feature will help teachers and co-teachers easily schedule assignments to multiple classes. 

Animated gif showing scheduling assignments to multiple classes

Offline capabilities: Coming to the Classroom Android app in a few months, offline mode will allow students to start their work offline, review their assignments and attachments as well as  write assignments in Google Docs — all without an internet connection. 

Student engagement activity: Later this year, teachers will easily be able to see when a student was last active, including when they last submitted work or participated in the class through comments with a student engagement activity dashboard.

Animated gif showing the student engagement activity in a class dashboard.

Google Meet in Classroom: In the coming months you’ll see updates to how teachers can use Google Meet in Classroom, making it easier, safer and more secure. First, all co-teachers in a class will also automatically be co-hosts in the meeting, and only students listed in the Classroom roster will be able to join the Meet. Next, students will have to sit in a “waiting room” until a teacher has joined the meeting link. And finally, guests outside the class roster will have to “ask to join” so no unwanted participants get into meetings. 

Educators' feedback makes Classroom better every year. With your feedback and insights, we’ll keep working together to make sure teaching and learning are possible for every teacher and student from every device anywhere in the world.

Chromebooks get new updates for the hybrid classroom

We’ve seen Chromebooks being used in so many ways, from virtual classrooms to entertainment hubs this year. Chromebooks have become the number-one device in K-12 education around the world because they are powerfully simple: opening a world of possibilities for every student and teacher, whether they’re at school, at home or anywhere in between.

We’ve seen a huge transition to schools assigning devices for every individual student, giving them a real sense of ownership over their Chromebooks. As a result, we’re making changes to support schools as they send Chromebooks home. These changes will also help students connect and participate in hybrid classrooms, while creating and sharing their ideas with a wide range of learning tools from podcasting to screencasting.

Easy to use

With Chromebooks, it’s easy to set up the right environment for your school from wherever you are. With over 40 new devices for education in 2021 alone, and Chrome Education Upgrade, admins can enable more than 500 policies in Google Admin Console. And with policies like Zero Touch Enrollment, IT admins can drop ship devices to any location and have the device be ready to go – without ever having physically touch the device. 

Automatic updates for up to eight years on devices keep them safe and secure – and with all of the latest and greatest security updates and new features. But it can be challenging to know when devices are reaching their Automatic Update Expiration date. Last year, we updated the Devices page of Google Admin Console to show when devices reach their AUE -- and now, we’re adding a new page in Admin Console that enables admins to view Chrome Insights Reports. The first report will be a view of AUE dates of the device fleet, which helps you understand when and how many devices have reached, or are going to reach, their AUE dates. These reports will help you prepare for when you should be thinking about purchasing new devices, and how often.

Still image of a report in Google Admin Console for AUE

This August, we’re rolling out PIN logins for education users as part of device set-up. This means that instead of having to remember so many long passwords, and spend time typing them in, students, educators and admins with assigned devices will be able to type in a simple six-digit PIN to log in. When students are logging into a device with an H1 security chip, they will be prompted to set up a PIN, and will be able to log in or unlock their assigned Chromebook using that PIN going forward. Admins will still have the ability to enable this feature for their domains in Google Admin Console.

Gif of a Chromebook with PIN logins

Engaging and inclusive

Chromebooks come with accessibility features built in, including the newest feature, Live Caption. For students who may need an alternate input into their Chromebook, we have Switch Access, which is the ability to use the built-in keyboard or an external device via USB or Bluetooth to control their cursor. Coming in August, we’re introducing Point Scanning, which is a new navigation mode for Switch Access. It allows people to select any point on the screen by first choosing the horizontal location they want to select, and then having them choose the vertical location.

Chromebooks also come with two magnifiers built in: a full-screen magnifier and a docked magnifier. We’ve just added a new panning method to our full-screen magnifier. In addition to the current ability to pan the screen when your mouse hits the edge of the magnified viewport, you can now keep the mouse centered on the screen and have the viewport pan as you move the mouse.

Gif of the panning method on the full screen magnifier on a Chromebook

To help users better understand how to use ChromeVox, one of our two built-in screen readers, we just released new tutorials for ChromeVox, including a quick orientation for new users, which automatically launches when ChromeVox is activated, along with interactive lessons, which ask users to execute commands or press designated keys to continue. There is also a practice area for a small set of lessons, which allows users to practice what they’ve learned in a sandboxed environment. And best of all, the tutorial is also available for touch devices. We can’t wait to see how students and teachers use Chromebooks to create and learn this school year. 

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.

Innovating and advocating for accessible classrooms

We’re continually working to improve access to inclusive tools, from building two free screen readers into Chromebooks to providing voice typing and live captions with Google Workspace for Education. But as far as we’ve all come in bringing accessible teaching and learning tools into our classrooms, there is always more to do about digital inclusion. 

Today, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we at Google want to celebrate the great work that teachers have done to bring acceptance and inclusion into their schools — while we commit ourselves to more innovation with and for people with disabilities in the future.For example, we’re celebrating people like Chang-Dong Ryu, who teaches history at Seohyun Middle School in South Korea. Ryu is blind, and uses Google Classroom’s accessibility features to teach his students deeper lessons about acceptance and ability. “What I can do best is teach my students that value that comes with being ‘different,’” Ryu told us in a video we shared in February. “That way, when my students meet new friends and colleagues with visual impairments, they will accept them into their community as equals.” 

We’re continuing to tell more stories of educators and students with disabilities, and show more representation across our community, as we build with and for people with disabilities.

Building a more inclusive Chrome OS

In keeping with our goal to learn from users of our accessibility tools, and to give people with disabilities an even playing field, we continue to build new tools for accessibility in Google for Education solutions, with and for people with disabilities. Here are a selection of the latest features, all available on your Chromebook today:

Live captioning:Chrome Browser now has a Live Caption feature that automatically provides real-time captions for media with audio. The live captioning works with social media and video sites, podcasts and radio content, personal video libraries (such as Google Photos) and embedded video players. For students with hearing disabilities, the captions help improve accessibility of online content. In a noisy classroom environment, or one where students need to keep volume low on their school devices, the captions are helpful for any students. To turn on Live Caption, go to Chromebook settings, then “Accessibility.”

Mouse panning: Chrome OS now offers centered mouse panning. This means that when students and teachers with vision disabilities are using the full-screen magnifier, they can now move the viewport while keeping the mouse or trackpad close to, or directly on, the center of the screen. This makes it much easier to navigate around the screen, as users don’t need to move the mouse to the edge of the screen to move the zoomed-in area – much better for accessing all learning content.

Activating ChromeVox:For users of ChromeVox, the screen reader that’s built into Chromebooks, the first time they open up a Chromebook, after 20 seconds of inactivity, they’ll hear audio and visual instructions for activating ChromeVox. For students and teachers who need screen readers but haven't yet used ChromeVox, there is a new tutorial available after turning on the screen reader for the first time, and is available in ChromeVox settings.  The instructions are very helpful for getting started without hesitation. 

Image descriptions on Android:For people who use screen readers on Chromebooks, the “get image descriptions” feature provides descriptions of unlabeled images, such as those that don’t have alt text.  This feature will soon be brought to Android devices. When students with vision disabilities are using Chromebooks or Android phones or tablets to access online content, they’ll be able to have a better understanding of the images they come across, similar to their sighted classmates.

Forced colors:For students using the Chrome Browser on Windows who need high contrast in order to read text and see image details, Chrome now supports Windows' OS level high contrast settings. The extension lets people choose filters to adjust color contrast, flip black and white or remove colors altogether. 

Enhanced Select-to-speak:As mentioned in Chromebook's 10th birthday post, new features let students and teachers speed up, slow down and pause the reading voice in real-time, and easily jump to different sections of text. Students with disabilities —or anyone who needs help comprehending a challenging reading assignment — can use these new Select-to-speak features to listen at their own pace. 

To learn more about the accessibility tools built into Chromebooks and Google Workspace for Education, check out edu.google.com/accessibility, share this one pager, watch video tutorials on accessibility features, or learn more on our Help Center.

Helping all your devices work better together

Phones are at the center of our digital lives. When purchasing a phone these days, we’re buying not only a phone, but also an entire ecosystem of devices that are all expected to work together — such as TVs, laptops, cars and wearables like smartwatches or fitness trackers. In North America, the average person now has around eight connected devices, and by 2022, this is predicted to grow to 13 connected devices.


Today, we’re sharing how we’re helping make your Android phone, and all the devices connected to it, work even better together.

Pair your devices in one tap

Fast Pair helps make it easier and faster to connect to Bluetooth devices around you. So far, people have used Fast Pair over 36 million times to connect their Android phones with Bluetooth accessories from Sony, Microsoft, JBL, Philips, Google and many other popular brands.

In the coming months, we’re bringing Fast Pair to even more devices such as Beats headphones as well as cars from BMW and Ford. With a single tap, you can pair your Android phone to your favorite accessories whether it’s earbuds, speakers, wearables or cars.

Turn on your TV and find entertainment faster

Whether it’s under the couch cushions, behind your nightstand or in your refrigerator, TV remotes are often mysteriously lost. And even when you finally find it, typing a password with a remote control can be a frustrating and time-consuming process.

We’re making it easier to navigate your TV by building remote-control features directly into your Android phone, so you can watch your favorite show even if your actual remote is missing. And when you need to type a complex movie title or password, you can save time and use your phone's keyboard to enter the text.

Gif typing a password on a phone and appearing on a TV screen

Rolling out later this year, the built-in remote control on Android phones will work instantly for the more than 80 million Android TV OS devices, including Google TV.

Move between your phone and Chromebook with ease

Your Android phone and Chromebook already work well together, with features like Wi-Fi Sync and Smart Lock. With the recent launch of Phone Hub, you now have a built-in control center that makes it easy to manage your Android phone right from your Chromebook. Even if your phone is in another room, you can receive and respond to text messages, check its battery life and cell signal, turn on its hotspot, or locate it — all from your Chromebook. Phone Hub also displays recent Chrome browser tabs opened on your Android phone, so you can pick up where you left off.

Gif showing Chromebook Phone Hub features - incoming chat notifications, recent Chrome tabs and photo gallery.

And coming soon, Phone Hub will provide access to recently taken photos from your phone, so when you need to edit a picture or share on social media, you can access it instantly on your Chromebook without having to email it to yourself.

Unlock your car with your phone

Android Auto is designed to make it safer to use apps from your phone while you’re on the road. Today, Android Auto is available in more than 100 million cars and the vast majority of new vehicles from loved brands like GM, Ford, Honda and more will support Android Auto wireless. No more cords.

To make your phone even more helpful, we’re working with car manufacturers to develop a new digital car key in Android 12. With this feature, you’ll be able to lock, unlock and even start your car from your phone.

By using Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology, you won’t even have to take your phone out to use it as a car key. And for NFC-enabled car models, it’s as easy as tapping your phone on the car door to unlock it. Since it’s all digital, you can also securely and remotely share your car key with friends and family if they need to borrow your car.

Phone with a digital car key for BMW

Starting later this year, digital car keys will become available on select Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones. We’re working with BMW and others to bring this to their upcoming cars.

These are just a few ways that we’re helping all your devices work better together with your Android phone.

Helping all your devices work better together

Phones are at the center of our digital lives. When purchasing a phone these days, we’re buying not only a phone, but also an entire ecosystem of devices that are all expected to work together — such as TVs, laptops, cars and wearables like smartwatches or fitness trackers. In North America, the average person now has around eight connected devices, and by 2022, this is predicted to grow to 13 connected devices.


Today, we’re sharing how we’re helping make your Android phone, and all the devices connected to it, work even better together.

Pair your devices in one tap

Fast Pair helps make it easier and faster to connect to Bluetooth devices around you. So far, people have used Fast Pair over 36 million times to connect their Android phones with Bluetooth accessories from Sony, Microsoft, JBL, Philips, Google and many other popular brands.

In the coming months, we’re bringing Fast Pair to even more devices such as Beats headphones as well as cars from BMW and Ford. With a single tap, you can pair your Android phone to your favorite accessories whether it’s earbuds, speakers, wearables or cars.

Turn on your TV and find entertainment faster

Whether it’s under the couch cushions, behind your nightstand or in your refrigerator, TV remotes are often mysteriously lost. And even when you finally find it, typing a password with a remote control can be a frustrating and time-consuming process.

We’re making it easier to navigate your TV by building remote-control features directly into your Android phone, so you can watch your favorite show even if your actual remote is missing. And when you need to type a complex movie title or password, you can save time and use your phone's keyboard to enter the text.

Gif typing a password on a phone and appearing on a TV screen

Rolling out later this year, the built-in remote control on Android phones will work instantly for the more than 80 million Android TV OS devices, including Google TV.

Move between your phone and Chromebook with ease

Your Android phone and Chromebook already work well together, with features like Wi-Fi Sync and Smart Lock. With the recent launch of Phone Hub, you now have a built-in control center that makes it easy to manage your Android phone right from your Chromebook. Even if your phone is in another room, you can receive and respond to text messages, check its battery life and cell signal, turn on its hotspot, or locate it — all from your Chromebook. Phone Hub also displays recent Chrome browser tabs opened on your Android phone, so you can pick up where you left off.

Gif showing Chromebook Phone Hub features - incoming chat notifications, recent Chrome tabs and photo gallery.

And coming soon, Phone Hub will provide access to recently taken photos from your phone, so when you need to edit a picture or share on social media, you can access it instantly on your Chromebook without having to email it to yourself.

Unlock your car with your phone

Android Auto is designed to make it safer to use apps from your phone while you’re on the road. Today, Android Auto is available in more than 100 million cars and the vast majority of new vehicles from loved brands like GM, Ford, Honda and more will support Android Auto wireless. No more cords.

To make your phone even more helpful, we’re working with car manufacturers to develop a new digital car key in Android 12. With this feature, you’ll be able to lock, unlock and even start your car from your phone.

By using Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology, you won’t even have to take your phone out to use it as a car key. And for NFC-enabled car models, it’s as easy as tapping your phone on the car door to unlock it. Since it’s all digital, you can also securely and remotely share your car key with friends and family if they need to borrow your car.

Phone with a digital car key for BMW

Starting later this year, digital car keys will become available on select Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones. We’re working with BMW and others to bring this to their upcoming cars.

These are just a few ways that we’re helping all your devices work better together with your Android phone.

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!