With the Google Pixel Slate, Chrome OS took something of a step forward in camera quality, and in fact it was the first Chrome OS device to introduce Portrait mode photos. The feature has since been exclusive to the Pixel Slate, which uses its own custom app. According to a new code change, the stock Chrome OS Camera app will be getting Portrait mode and more very soon.

The code change, posted over the weekend to the Chromium Gerrit source code management, connects a pair of recent features to the Camera app’s interface. In doing so, the app itself has been given a much-needed makeover, as we can see in screenshots provided to translators.

Currently the Chrome OS Camera app’s interface is somewhat “L”-shaped, with controls along the left and bottom edges. The new design stashes the controls on the left and right edges and adds a mode selection slider on the right-hand side, below the shutter button. In this new slider, you will be able to find the existing “Photo” and “Video” modes and two new ones—”Square” and “Portrait.”

Square mode does exactly what it says, takes square (1:1 ratio) photos, perfect for Instagram and beyond. Under the hood, Square mode actually just takes a full-width photo and crops it afterward into a square shape.

Chrome OS Camera app Square mode

Portrait mode, however, is a much more complex feature, one that needs to be tuned for each individual camera. If your Chromebook does not support taking photos with the Bokeh effect, you’ll receive an error when you switch to Portrait.

We’re not sure yet why portrait mode is being made available in the native Chrome OS app, as signs pointed to Chrome OS switching to an Android-based Google Camera app. Perhaps this is no longer the case, or perhaps other OEMs intend to include Portrait mode and the Android-based Camera is exclusive to Made by Google devices.

We do know that the native Chrome OS Camera app’s Portrait mode is being tested with the Pixel Slate, as a pre-release Pixel Slate (with Pixel Slate Keyboard) is clearly visible in the camera preview of one of the screenshots above.

Whatever the case may be, it’s clear Google has decided to finally do something about the poor camera software situation on Chrome OS. We may see this new version of the Camera app land as early as Chrome OS 75, though Chrome OS 76 may be a safer estimate.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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