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Chrome OS 89 is a big update that adds Phone Hub, Tote, screen recording, and more

Following the desktop and mobile updates last week, Chrome OS 89 is beginning to roll out today. There are a number of big usability enhancements in this release that will be available over the coming days.

Phone Hub lets users control their paired phone from Chromebooks. Appearing next to the status information pill, tapping opens a bottom-right panel that first shows phone status like cell signal and battery percentage. Key actions let you enable hotspot/tethering, silence your phone with DND, and locate/ring a lost phone. Another aspect of the Phone Hub shows your last two open Chrome tabs from Android. You can also receive and reply to notifications.

Similarly, Google reiterated how Nearby Share is coming to transfer files between Android and other Chromebooks. That is set for the “coming months.” Wi-Fi Sync now works to share network credentials between Chrome and Android.

Version 89 introduces a “Screen capture” tool that’s geared towards educators wanting to record what’s on their displays for lessons. Once launched from the new Quick Settings shortcut, your current screen grays out and a floating panel appears at the bottom. Users can decide between a screenshot or video capture, while there are three area types:

  • Full screen
  • Partial
  • Window

Meanwhile, captured screenshots and saved files now appear in a “Tote” next to Phone Hub. In the Files app, right-clicking reveals a new “Pin to shelf” option. For example, this is ideal when working on presentations or documents and quickly adding images.

Lastly, the Gallery tool has a new “Annotate” capability to quickly pen or highlight. There are five sizes ranging from extra thin to thick and 20 colors

Chrome OS 89 makes all app icons circular. Unique, non-conforming shapes are placed in circles with stark backgrounds. This change applies to both the shelf and app launcher. Some first-party Chrome and Android icons already fit, but many others don’t, though there are new icons for Calculator and Canvas.

  • Media controls are now directly integrated into Quick Settings, while you’re able to pin the media player directly to the shelf.
  • The Clipboard — accessed with Everything Button + V — has been updated to show the last five copied items, including text and images.
  • When right-clicking a word or passage, Chrome OS will now offer Assistant-branded Quick Answers that could include definitions, translations, or unit conversions.
  • The Desks feature will persist through reboots, while right-clicking a window lets you send to a specific space.
  • Tapping Share in a supported app or website will show a list of targets that you can directly send a file to.
  • Select-to-speak has new controls to speed up, slow down, and pause the reading voice in real-time, as well as jump to different parts.
  • The password box on the login screen has a new shape, while entered text not appears centered.
  • Chrome OS now supports scanning on compatible multifunction printers.
  • The Camera app can be used to scan QR codes, with recognition occurring automatically.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: