Google is previewing a number of new productivity and personalization features for Chromebooks that will launch over the coming months, including a redesigned movie editor inside Google Photos.

Google Photos has long offered basic video creation tools, including the ability to quickly generate themed movies by selecting images and other clips. This experience is now being revamped for Chromebooks with an emphasis on making “high-quality movies with just a few taps.” The themed options remain available: 

Start by selecting a theme and the people (or pets!) you’d like to feature, and Google Photos will make a movie with both video clips and photos. It even intelligently selects the most meaningful moments from your long videos.

There’s also a more manual approach to “build your own movie from scratch,” with Google Photos emphasizing its powerful search capabilities and then manually arranging everything. 

A widescreen UI that takes up the entire display includes a timeline at the bottom. Featuring various Material You buttons and other flourishes, a control panel at the right lets you adjust brightness and contrast, apply filters, and add a title card. You can also trim clips, overlay music, and change the aspect ratio.

This revamped movie editor inside the Google Photos app is coming first to Chromebooks and set to arrive this fall.

  • Google Photos movie editor Chromebook

Continuing on the productivity front, Google today previewed how the Gallery app is getting PDF editing capabilities to fill out forms, sign documents, highlight text, and make other text annotations. The date also now appears in the bottom-right corner of your screen next to the time, battery, and Wi-Fi status.

A tap shows you a monthly Google Calendar view that you can quickly tap through to open events. When this widget – of sorts – is open, you’ll see a list of alerts just above it. Similarly, an update will group notifications from the same sender with larger buttons in use. These changes will start rolling out next week.

Meanwhile, another upgrade coming in late September will let you save Virtual Desks.

ChromeOS is also getting more personal in August (version 104) with the ability to set wallpapers from your Google Photos library with a revamped Wallpaper & style app. You can select an album and have your background change daily.

You can also see your favorite pictures sway in the breeze or gently float across your screen using one of the new screensaver photo frames.

Lastly, Google is finally getting system-level light and dark themes that touch every corner of ChromeOS. 

Bonus: some new wallpapers are made for both themes, so your wallpaper will subtly shift from light to dark, too.

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Abner Li

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