Chrome OS could borrow some of macOS' useful video conferencing features

Chrome logo on a Lenovo Chromebook
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is said to be developing new built-in features to improve your videoconferencing experience on Chromebooks.
  • These features include background blur and other effects to improve lighting.
  • Chrome OS could also get a new feature that warns you if your connection is unstable during a call.

Google appears to be working on new Chrome OS features meant to bolster the video conferencing experience on Chromebooks, starting with built-in video effects.

According to a potential feature flag discovered in the Chromium Gerrit by 9to5Google, the Chrome OS team is developing a background blur effect for Chromebooks. This feature is available on Apple's macOS machines powered by Apple Silicon. Background blur is also a popular feature of many of the best video conference software, such as Google Meet.

Adding these effects to Chromebooks as a built-in feature will significantly improve user experience on the platform, which has traditionally lagged behind Windows PCs and MacBooks in terms of features. Background blur, in particular, is a useful tool for hiding your messy bedroom when video-calling with your colleagues.

Furthermore, it appears that background blur is not the only capability underway. Another feature called "Portrait Relighting" could be in the works as well. 9to5 notes that it is similar to a feature found in the Google Camera app for Pixel phones. According to Google, Portrait Light "adds a simulated directional light source to portraits" in order to complement the lighting in the original photo.

Digging deeper into the Chromium Gerrit revealed another feature dubbed "auto framing," which will presumably adjust your position in relation to the camera's frame. Chrome OS may also get a new feature that warns you if your connection is unstable during a call.

With hybrid work environments still in place, Google's decision to improve Chromebook's video-calling capabilities is a step in the right direction. The newly discovered features, however, are in an early stage of development and are unlikely to make their way to many of the best Chromebooks anytime soon.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.