Google tests macOS-like 'Quick Answers' in Chrome OS Canary builds

ASUS Chromebook C434
ASUS Chromebook C434 (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is testing Quick Answers, a Chrome OS feature that uses the Google Assistant to provide resources based on highlighted text.
  • Quick Answers works a lot like macOS' 'Look Up' feature.
  • Google is currently testing it out on Chrome OS 81.

Google is working on a new feature for Chrome OS — Quick Answers. Doing exactly what the name implies, Quick Answers is a feature that leverages the Google Assistant to quickly answer queries. It's a lot like Look Up on macOS, offering definitions of highlighted words, as well as pronunciations and google translations for foreign languages. You'll need to have a Google Assistant Chromebook. In other words, all modern ones aren't running on G-Suite accounts.

As spotted by Chrome Unboxed it's now rolled out to the Canary build in Chrome OS 81. Enabling it as trivial as switching the #enable-quick-answers flash in Chrome://flags. While the flag was present in previous beta builds, this is the first time it actually works, as you can see in the image below.

Chrome Quick Answers feature

Source: Chrome Unboxed (Image credit: Source: Chrome Unboxed)

Seeing as it's only in Canary at this point, it's unlikely to hit Stable without a few more months of testing. Other than that, it's a nifty feature that makes use of the really underutilized Assistant integration in Chrome OS.

Chromebooks will be starting 2020 in a big way as powerful Chromebooks from Samsung, Asus, and Google make their way down to the markets. Google also plans to improve the tablet mode of Chrome OS with a powerful gesture system, tackling criticism that the platform has been unsuited for powering devices like the Pixel Slate.

Quick Answers isn't going to be a killer feature don't get me wrong, its just nice to have on a platform that needs more nice-to-haves.

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Michael Allison