Chrome OS 78 rolling out: Split browser/device settings, YouTube for Android PiP, more

After rolling out to Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, version 78 of Chrome OS is now available. Notable features in Chrome OS 78 include separate browser and device settings, click-to-call, and the full launch of Virtual Desks.

Chrome is getting another cross-device sharing feature after “Send this page” widely rolled in September. With “click-to-call,” you can right-click on phone number links — like tel:800-800-8000 —  to have them sent to your Android device. It’s quicker than manually entering those digits or transferring via email.

Chrome OS 78 will separate browser and device settings. The former is accessible directly at chrome://settings and what opens when clicking “Settings” at the bottom of the Overflow menu in the top-right corner of any browser window. It opens as a tab and provides web-related preferences. Meanwhile, chrome://os-settings opens as its own window, and can be accessed from the quick settings sheet. It provides device options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Assistant in a white Material Theme UI with an icon in the launcher/app shelf.

If Virtual Desks did not roll out with version 77 last month, it should be widely available this release. Useful shortcuts include:

YouTube for Android now supports picture-in-picture with Chrome OS 78. After starting a video in the mobile client, switching to another window, covering, or minimizing the app will automatically open a PiP in the bottom-right corner. Available controls include switching to audio, play/pause, and skipping to the next track. In the top-left, you can expand the window and a settings gear on the other side allows you to open system settings. Tapping in the center expands and returns you to the YouTube Android app.

Chrome OS is not getting all the customization options available on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Google has made “Customize” — in the bottom-right corner of the New Tab page — open a new Material window. The New Tab “Background” option is unchanged from before, but “Shortcuts” lets you customize the icons that appear underneath the search field. There are three possibilities:

“Color and theme” — which lets you choose between twenty preset themes, or launch a color picker to create your own — is now available on Chrome OS.

Chrome OS 78 is simplifying the printing experience by automatically listing compatible printers without any prior setup required. Google has also reduced the number of steps needed to save frequently used printers to your profile.

There are a number of Linux on Chrome OS enhancements in this version:

Chrome is cleaning up chrome://flags starting with version 78. The stated reason for enterprise customers is how policies are a better way to configure the browser. “Many flags” will be removed going forward, but this should not significantly impact consumers.

Other changes in version 78 include:

Chrome OS 78 is rolling out now and will be available for all Chromebooks over the next several weeks.

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