Tag Archives: What’s new in Chrome OS

Sign in to sites faster and personalize your lock screen

We’re always finding ways to make using Chromebooks as seamless as possible. Today, with our latest Chrome OS release, we’re introducing a faster sign-in experience as well as personalized lock screens. 

And in case you missed it, we’ll share the exciting new Chromebooks that were recently announced at CES 2021.

Faster and easier web sign-in

Forget the hassle of typing in a long password or trying to remember which one you use for a specific online account. Now you can securely sign in to websites with the PIN or fingerprint you’ve set up to unlock your Chromebook with our new Web Authentication (WebAuthn) feature. Websites that support WebAuthn will let you use your Chromebook PIN or fingerprint ID—if your Chromebook has a fingerprint reader—instead of the password you’ve set for the website. And if you use 2-Step Verification to sign-in, your Chromebook PIN or fingerprint ID can be used as the second factor, so you no longer need to pull out your security key or phone to authenticate.

To get started, sign in to a supported website like Dropbox, GitHub or Okta, and you’ll be prompted to switch to using WebAuthn for future sign-ins.

Image showing a web page with the WebAuthn tool pulled up. A pop-up on the screen says "verify your identity" and has spaces for numbers to be entered.

Beautify your space with a personalized lock screen

The Chrome OS screen saver lets you transform your Chromebook’s lock screen into a personalized smart display. Show off your favorite photo album from Google Photos or pick from hundreds of art gallery images. You can use your lock screen to check information like the current weather and what music is playing; you’ll also be able to pause a track or skip songs without unlocking your device. 

Go to your Chrome OS Settings  and select Personalization > Screen saver to turn it on now.

Image shows an Android tablet next to an Android tablet pen. On the screen is a photo of a mountain and behind it is a pink-hued sunset.

ICYMI: New Chromebooks announced at CES 2021 

Image showing three laptops.

From left to right: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 and Acer Chromebook Spin 514

Our partners, Acer, ASUS and Samsung, introduced five new Chromebooks earlier this month: The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 and the ASUS Chromebook Flip CM5 are among the first AMD Ryzen Chromebooks in the market and deliver great performance for work and play at an affordable price. There’s also the ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 and the ASUS Chromebook CX9, which are some of the first Chromebooks to come with the latest 11th generation Intel processors, so they’re a powerful option for working or streaming video. And the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the first Chromebook to feature a QLED display; it has a thin, light design and comes in Fiesta Red and Mercury Gray. 

That’s all for now—but check back here in March when we’ll have more news about what’s coming to Chromebooks.

Sign in to sites faster and personalize your lock screen

We’re always finding ways to make using Chromebooks as seamless as possible. Today, with our latest Chrome OS release, we’re introducing a faster sign-in experience as well as personalized lock screens. 

And in case you missed it, we’ll share the exciting new Chromebooks that were recently announced at CES 2021.

Faster and easier web sign-in

Forget the hassle of typing in a long password or trying to remember which one you use for a specific online account. Now you can securely sign in to websites with the PIN or fingerprint you’ve set up to unlock your Chromebook with our new Web Authentication (WebAuthn) feature. Websites that support WebAuthn will let you use your Chromebook PIN or fingerprint ID—if your Chromebook has a fingerprint reader—instead of the password you’ve set for the website. And if you use 2-Step Verification to sign-in, your Chromebook PIN or fingerprint ID can be used as the second factor, so you no longer need to pull out your security key or phone to authenticate.

To get started, sign in to a supported website like Dropbox, GitHub or Okta, and you’ll be prompted to switch to using WebAuthn for future sign-ins.

Image showing a web page with the WebAuthn tool pulled up. A pop-up on the screen says "verify your identity" and has spaces for numbers to be entered.

Beautify your space with a personalized lock screen

The Chrome OS screen saver lets you transform your Chromebook’s lock screen into a personalized smart display. Show off your favorite photo album from Google Photos or pick from hundreds of art gallery images. You can use your lock screen to check information like the current weather and what music is playing; you’ll also be able to pause a track or skip songs without unlocking your device. 

Go to your Chrome OS Settings  and select Personalization > Screen saver to turn it on now.

Image shows an Android tablet next to an Android tablet pen. On the screen is a photo of a mountain and behind it is a pink-hued sunset.

ICYMI: New Chromebooks announced at CES 2021 

Image showing three laptops.

From left to right: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2, ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 and Acer Chromebook Spin 514

Our partners, Acer, ASUS and Samsung, introduced five new Chromebooks earlier this month: The Acer Chromebook Spin 514 and the ASUS Chromebook Flip CM5 are among the first AMD Ryzen Chromebooks in the market and deliver great performance for work and play at an affordable price. There’s also the ASUS Chromebook Flip C536 and the ASUS Chromebook CX9, which are some of the first Chromebooks to come with the latest 11th generation Intel processors, so they’re a powerful option for working or streaming video. And the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the first Chromebook to feature a QLED display; it has a thin, light design and comes in Fiesta Red and Mercury Gray. 

That’s all for now—but check back here in March when we’ll have more news about what’s coming to Chromebooks.

Making Chromebooks work for people with disabilities

As a visually impaired woman, I use assistive technology everyday to make my working environment accessible and productive. I feel grateful to work on the Chromebook team, which values my perspective as someone with a disability. Seeking and embracing a diverse set of perspectives is the only true way to build for everyone. 

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month in the U.S.—it’s a meaningful time because it makes me reflect on how far technology has come. However, it also reminds me how much more opportunity there is to build with accessibility in mind to create a more inclusive world.

Today, I’m shining a spotlight on some recent features that make Chromebooks more accessible for people with disabilities. 

Change your cursor color

Now you can change the color of your cursor to improve its visibility and add a personal touch to your Chromebook. Choose from seven new colors: red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, magenta and pink. This feature is designed to help people with low vision and complements other ways Chromebook cursors can be customized, like adjusting its size for further visibility. To adjust your cursor, go to the “Mouse and touchpad” section of Settings.


Visual shows cursor colors changing.

Select-to-speak gets better

Select-to-speak lets people choose text on screen to be spoken aloud. You now have the option to shade background text that isn’t highlighted, which makes it easier to focus on the words being recited. This can be especially helpful for people with low vision and learning disabilities like dyslexia. To turn on this feature, search for “Select-to-speak settings” within Settings. 

Visual shows select-to-speak reciting highlighted text

New ChromeVox enhancements

ChromeVox is the built-in screen reader on all Chromebooks. Screen readers are critical for people who are blind or low vision to use computers. Voice Switching on ChromeVox now automatically changes the screen reader’s voice based on the language of the page. If the page is in both English and Spanish, ChromeVox will detect which voice to use when reading it aloud. We also added more speech customization options, Smart Sticky Mode and improved navigation in ChromeVox menus. Search ChromeVox in Settings to try these new changes. Learn more details about ChromeVox here.
Visual shows menus that have been updated in ChromeVox with new search functionality.

We’ve simplified the ChromeVox menus to make them easier to navigate.

Say hello to the Chromebook accessibility hub 

We recently launched the Chromebook accessibility hub for people to learn about getting started with accessibility features on Chromebooks. It includes info on key Chromebook accessibility features, including links to video tutorials and useful Help Center articles. 


Export accessible PDFs in Chrome 

Now it’s easier to export websites as accessible PDFs in Google Chrome, including on Chromebooks. Chrome is now the first browser to generate PDFs with auto-generated headings, links, tables and alt-text that make them more easily legible for screen-readers. This makes the web more accessible for people with low vision or who are blind. 


Guide kids with disabilities who are distance learning

If you have a child with a disability and they’re distance learning, check out our new Guardian’s Guide for advice on how to best use Chromebooks for learning from home. The guide includes tips tailored for different types of disabilities to help your family get the most out of Chromebooks and adapt to distance learning.


We’re constantly making updates to Chrome OS to make all Chromebooks more accessible for people with disabilities. Stay tuned for more highlights on Chrome OS improvements soon.


“Explore” helps you get the most out of Chromebook

Getting started with new technology can be tough, with pages of instructions and tutorials to pore over. “Explore,” a new app built into Chromebook, helps you get set up and take full advantage of your computer, whether you’re a Chrome OS newbie or already use a Chromebook every day.


A compass for new Chromebook users 

Think of the Explore app as your compass for navigating your Chromebook. It’s an evolved form of Get Help, our previous in-product education app. Now, when you log in to a Chromebook for the first time and complete the initial onboarding, the Explore app orients you to learn about the most helpful Chrome OS features.


The Explore homepage gives you easy access to answers and visual tutorials to some of the most commonly-asked questions from new Chromebook owners, like how to best manage your files on Chromebook across local storage and Google Drive, or how to set up a printer with Chromebook.


ExploreChromebook2

You can venture through the Explore app at your own pace. Complete lessons and check back for new content when you’re looking for a specific answer or if you’re eager to make sure you’re maximizing your Chromebook. 


Easy access to special offers

Explore also includes helpful features for Chromebook enthusiasts. It has a tab for quick access to some of the best Chromebook perks, so you can quickly redeem them. For example, right now in the U.S., you can use the Explore app to get free access to 100GB of storage and more through Google One for a year, free access to the popular game Stardew Valley, and free three months access to Disney+.
ExploreChromebook3

Some more highlights

In addition to the Explore app, here are a couple new features that make your Chromebook work even better.

Use the Overview key, which helps you zoom out and see all the windows that are open, to multitask across windows masterfully. Now, when in Overview, you can drag windows from your Chromebook’s screen to an external monitor and vice versa. You can also easily split your screen from Overview, which makes it easier to multitask—you can have two documents open at one time, or review an article while taking notes.
WindowManagementChromebook

Words are wonderful, but sometimes emojis can capture even more emotion. We just added more emojis for you to use within Chrome OS, like a yawning face emoji (🥱), an ear with a hearing aid (🦻 ), and a sari (🥻). To use emojis on Chromebook, right click in any text field and navigate to “emoji.” 


We’ll have more highlights to share about new Chromebook features soon. Stay tuned!

Learn and play together as a family with Chromebook

The last few months have been an adventure for a lot of families like mine that are juggling work, parenting, and school at home. Our family Chromebook has been a huge help. Between video calls with teachers and classmates, virtual “field trips” to the zoo, moviemaking, and book publishing (and that’s just the last week!), my kids are spending more time online. With that comes some challenges, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of parents are looking for better tools to help them manage and guide their kids’ time spent online.


We hope our new Chrome OS update can help. This update brings two new improvements to Family Link on Chromebook: access to Chrome Web store extensions for kids and per-app time limits for Google Play apps. Family Link is an app that helps parents set digital ground rules and manage screen time across kids’ Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks. Parents can use the Family Link app from their phone to set restrictions on which websites their kids can visit, set device time limits, and approve and install apps from the Google Play Store for their child’s account.

Access to thousands of useful extensions

Now, parents can let their children personalize Chrome with thousands of free extensions and themes from theChrome Web Store and be more productive with tools like Zoom and Screencastify. To approve extensions, parents just need to enter their password on the supervised Chromebook.
M83_Family_GIF1

Parents can now approve extensions from the Chrome Web Store for their kids.

Healthy guardrails for apps on Chromebook

With the latest update, parents can also set per-app time limits for Play Store apps to manage their child’s screen time on Chromebooks. This Family Link improvement gives parents more precise control over their kids’ app usage, so kids can strike the right balance of time on educational apps like Khan Academy Kids and games like Roblox.

M83_Family_Image1

Kids will receive notifications related to per-app time limits set by parents.

Getting started

If you’re new to using Family Link on Chromebook, download the app from the Google Play Store and check out this article on our Help Center for set-up instructions. 


Here are some other tips for using Chromebook as a family:

  • Visit the revamped “Kids” tab on the Google Play Store to find teacher-approved apps for learning and entertainment.

  • Visit Teach from Home for resources on teaching and learning at home, and more information about the Google for Education tools your kid may be using in school.  

  • Help your kid learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship and online safety with Google’s Be Internet Awesome family resources and the Interland game

  • Turn on Digital Wellbeing settings, like Night Light, which changes Chromebook’s screen temperature to reduce blue light at night.

We’ll be back soon with another highlight reel of recent improvements to Chromebook.

Learn and play together as a family with Chromebook

The last few months have been an adventure for a lot of families like mine that are juggling work, parenting, and school at home. Our family Chromebook has been a huge help. Between video calls with teachers and classmates, virtual “field trips” to the zoo, moviemaking, and book publishing (and that’s just the last week!), my kids are spending more time online. With that comes some challenges, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of parents are looking for better tools to help them manage and guide their kids’ time spent online.


We hope our new Chrome OS update can help. This update brings two new improvements to Family Link on Chromebook: access to Chrome Web store extensions for kids and per-app time limits for Google Play apps. Family Link is an app that helps parents set digital ground rules and manage screen time across kids’ Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks. Parents can use the Family Link app from their phone to set restrictions on which websites their kids can visit, set device time limits, and approve and install apps from the Google Play Store for their child’s account.

Access to thousands of useful extensions

Now, parents can let their children personalize Chrome with thousands of free extensions and themes from theChrome Web Store and be more productive with tools like Zoom and Screencastify. To approve extensions, parents just need to enter their password on the supervised Chromebook.
M83_Family_GIF1

Parents can now approve extensions from the Chrome Web Store for their kids.

Healthy guardrails for apps on Chromebook

With the latest update, parents can also set per-app time limits for Play Store apps to manage their child’s screen time on Chromebooks. This Family Link improvement gives parents more precise control over their kids’ app usage, so kids can strike the right balance of time on educational apps like Khan Academy Kids and games like Roblox.

M83_Family_Image1

Kids will receive notifications related to per-app time limits set by parents.

Getting started

If you’re new to using Family Link on Chromebook, download the app from the Google Play Store and check out this article on our Help Center for set-up instructions. 


Here are some other tips for using Chromebook as a family:

  • Visit the revamped “Kids” tab on the Google Play Store to find teacher-approved apps for learning and entertainment.

  • Visit Teach from Home for resources on teaching and learning at home, and more information about the Google for Education tools your kid may be using in school.  

  • Help your kid learn the fundamentals of digital citizenship and online safety with Google’s Be Internet Awesome family resources and the Interland game

  • Turn on Digital Wellbeing settings, like Night Light, which changes Chromebook’s screen temperature to reduce blue light at night.

We’ll be back soon with another highlight reel of recent improvements to Chromebook.