ChromeOS 120 is equipped with some rather useful productivity features

Acer Chromebook Spin 714
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has started rolling out ChromeOS 120 to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes.
  • The update includes a variety of productivity enhancements, such as a new Virtual Desks button that appears in the shelf.
  • ChromeOS 120 also brings "Nearby Share Self Share," offering "seamless sharing between a user's devices."

Now that everyone is mostly back to work after the holiday break, Google is hitting the ground running. If you found one of the best Chromebooks under the Christmas tree, there's already a new update available as ChromeOS 120 is rolling out.

Besides the normal bug fixes, ChromeOS 120 has a couple of new features aimed at making your life just a little bit easier. The first new feature is especially handy for those who rely on multiple virtual desks. When using more than one virtual desk, a new button will appear to the left of your pinned apps in the Shelf.

Clicking the button will show an overview of the available virtual desks, allowing you to either switch to an existing desk or create a new one. The overview is particularly useful, as it gives you a glimpse of what apps or windows that are open on each virtual desk. However, ChromeOS 120 also lets you switch between virtual desks simply by hovering over the new button and clicking the right or left arrow.

The other major feature that is now available with ChromeOS 120 is named "Nearby Share Self Share." Nearby Share was first introduced to Chromebooks back in 2021 with the release of ChromeOS 91, and it's been available on Android since 2020. Since then, Google has been working on different ways to improve the reliability and usefulness when trying to share files, photos, and more between Chromebooks and Android.

With Nearby Share Self Share, Google explains that "transfers will automatically be accepted when Nearby Sharing with any Android or ChromeOS device that is logged into the same Google account, even when the other device's screen is off." While that all sounds great, and it seems to work pretty well, we're left wondering just how long Google will be sticking with the Nearby Share branding.

Recently, a leak revealed that Google is rebranding "Nearby Share" to "Quick Share," which is the same branding used by Samsung for its own file-sharing service. The expectation is that Google and Samsung are working together to improve the file-sharing experience across all Android devices. Considering that both Quick Share and Nearby Share are essentially the same, this merger would help to clean the convoluted mess that appears when trying to share files on Samsung phones.

Those are the two features that you'll probably notice sooner than the other two that were discovered by About Chromebooks. Google has been working on providing users with more customization options, and ChromeOS 120 adds a couple of new settings panels.

The first of which is the ability to customize your keyboard, but we're not talking about adjusting the RGB. Instead, there's a new option within the Keyboard settings, that lets you customize actions and shortcuts for different keys. For instance, if you want an easier way to invoke Assistant on your Chromebook, you can swap out the Launcher action with the Everything key.

Customize Keyboard Keys in ChromeOS 120

(Image credit: Android Central)

As for the other customization options, Google is now giving you more control over your external mouse settings. From here, you're able to customize and change both the cursor and scrolling settings for your mouse. The only "catch" is that this will obviously only work if you have an external mouse actively connected to your Chromebook.

External mouse settings in ChromeOS 120

(Image credit: Android Central)

Nevertheless, ChromeOS 120 is rolling out to many of the best Chromebooks, and chances are, the update is already waiting for you in the Settings app.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.