What you need to know
- Google today announced fairly helpful Chrome OS features rolling out with Chrome OS 85.
- One feature highlight was Wi-Fi password sync across devices.
- Google is also adding a microphone slider so users can control how sensitive their microphone is.
Google today announced new features coming to Chrome OS with version 85. One of them, Wi-Fi password sync, is a feature that anyone who frequently switches laptops would appreciate. With Chrome OS 85, your saved Wi-Fi credentials are now stored on your cloud keychain. Logging in to another Chromebook with your main Google account will now restore all those credentials so you no longer have to manually remember grandma's Wi-Fi password just because you changed machines. Obviously, you'll still need to enter at least one initial Wi-Fi password to start the restore process, but that's hardly a negative.
Google also announced expanded phone integration coming soon, possibly the Phone Hub feature spotted earlier. When that comes, users will be able to control notifications and continue tasks on their phones from their Chromebooks. Nearby Share, just introduced on Android phones, will also find its way to Chromebooks.
More areas of Chrome OS than syncing are being improved., Google plans on turning the launcher search into an all-encompassing search box for apps, files, and settings. For today's release, it'll settle for upgrading the settings app's search bar to help you reach settings you search for faster. Google is also improving the camera app. probably a feature that's aimed more at tablets than traditional clamshell laptops, you'll now be able to pause and resume videos or take a photo still while still recording a video. It's a nice change, but one that'll be lost on the majority of Chromebook owners.
Finally, Google is giving users more control over their microphone hardware. it's adding a sensitivity slider so that you can adjust how loud or quiet you are. As people spend more time on Zoom and Meet, making sure they can come over as clear as possible is something a lot of people will be concerned about.
These updates are coming in Chrome OS 85, which is just starting to roll out now.