Following the desktop browser and mobile apps, Google is detailing what’s new in Chrome OS 100, which starts rolling out later this week.
Chrome OS 100 introduces a new Launcher that’s reminiscent of an earlier design (circa 2015). Tapping the Everything Button today opens a sheet with a search field and five or so app/website chip suggestions. You can expand the drawer to have an application grid take up the entire screen.
A new design for the Launcher is “rolling out to all Chromebooks soon.” It’s now a floating pane at the left that doesn’t take up your entire screen. This approach is meant to provide “more space for any windows you have open.” You can organize apps manually, by name, or even icon color, with new installs following suits.
Web search is getting a big upgrade with previews showing more information than before for weather, math problems, and other results “without leaving Launcher.” Tab search is also being integrated here. You can manually enable it with:
Elsewhere, voice dictation (Everything Button + D key, requires you to enable ahead of time in Settings) will support edit commands:
- Delete: last letter
- Move to next character: controls cursor
The five-second GIF maker in the Camera’s app Video tab is also now official.
As part of today’s news, Google shared some developer blog posts about Chromebooks. One deals with the development of Chrome Cursive, and another with the Android Runtime on Chrome OS (ARC) that makes possible mobile apps from the Play Store. Following the original NaCl-based version and ARC++ (Android 6, 7, 9), Google last year introduced ARCVM.
Of course, Android 11 today is still only available on the newest and most powerful chipsets, e.g., not the Snapdragon 7c. This virtual machine approach has security and upgradeability benefits that should result in easier version upgrades moving forward:
This allows us to further optimize the behavior and performance of ARCVM, as the host and guest work in harmony to enable optimal performance characteristics and user experience for even the lowest-powered of devices.
That said, Google today did not offer a timeline on when to expect ARCVM and Android 11 on more Chromebooks beyond:
We’re excited to expand ARCVM to more existing and upcoming devices, and will have more to share as we hit distribution milestones.
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