Category: Chrome OS

Fourth Chrome 68 Based Build Arrives in The Chrome OS Beta Channel

The Chrome OS Beta Channel, the last step before a new build of the platform arrives to the masses, has been updated with its fourth Chrome 68 based build today.  Build 68.0.3440.59 (Platform version: 10718.50.0) is in the process of rolling out to the majority of devices registered in the channel and should be available today.  As always, you can check for the new update manually by typing chrome://help in the browser bar and then clicking the Check for update button.

This fourth update comes two full weeks after the previous update, a unusually long period of time during the beta cycles.  Most of the time in the Chrome OS Beta Channel, there is an update every 7-10 days.  The delay however could simply be because of the United States Independence holiday which was last week.

Android App Shortcuts Coming to Chrome OS

Based on a new Chrome OS commit in the Chromium Gerrit, and further support from Chrome OS evangelist François BeaufortAndroid App Shortcut support is coming to the platform and likely soon.  The commit points to right-click support for Android apps in the platform to allow for users to access the app shortcuts for apps that support the feature.

For those who may not know, Android app shortcuts allow you to get to a quick action within an app simply by long tapping it on your Android phone or tablet.  The feature became available in Android Nougat 7.1 but really didn’t start to gain traction until Oreo was released last year.

Google Duo Can Now Be Installed on A Few Chromebooks

Earlier this week I posted an article on an update to Google Duo which brought the ability to register your Gmail account on multiple devices to use the video chat app.  It was a big win for the app and a feature that was sorely needed.

The next obvious question was if Duo could be installed on a Chromeboook that is capable of running Android apps?  It could prove to be a great win for Chrome OS and provide users the option to use the video chat app not just on a mobile but on their laptop too.  The answer is yes, but it is extremely limited right now.

Google Pixelbook Down to $830 at Amazon

Amazon has once again put the entry level Google Pixelbook on sale to kick off July.  Right now you can pick up the Intel i5 equipped Chromebook with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for $830 at the online retailer.  That’s a savings of $169 off the regular price for the premier Chromebook on the market.

The sale at Amazon also extends to the middle and higher end models of the Pixelbook too.  For $1057 you can pick up the i5 equipped Pixelbook with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.  That is a savings of $142 off the regular price.  For the ultimate Pixelbook experience, you can pick up the Intel i7 model with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for $1499.  That’s a savings of $150.

Chrome OS Commits Suggest Nearby API is Coming to Chromebooks

Two new commits in the Chrome OS Gerrit suggest that the Nearby Connections API that is currently in Android is going to be coming to the platform.  The first commit points to the actual import of the Nearby API code into the Chrome OS platform while the second commit more clearly outlines the need for classes within the platform code structure to support Nearby.

Right now the Nearby API is pretty limited in functionality on Android.  The idea long term is to allow for devices near each other to quickly share information or, through beacons, get information about a location or event that you happen to be near.  Rarely does it get used these days but Google is continue to develop the API, it is up to version 2.0 now, and developers are slowly beginning to implement it.

How To Reformat a Partitioned USB Drive in Chrome OS

One of the challenges of Chrome OS is when it comes to partitioned USB drives.  Let me paint the scenario for you.  Let’s say you have a 64GB USB drive that you were using as your Chrome OS Recovery drive for your Chromebook (I highly recommend you create one if you haven’t already).  Now let’s say that you pick up a small 16GB drive for a few bucks and decide you want to have that as your recovery drive instead as it is a more efficient use of the drive space.  After all, a Chrome OS recovery drive only needs about 4GB of storage.

You create your new recovery drive and put it in a safe place.  Now you plug in your old recovery drive and open it up in the Files app.  There you will see the USB drive has two partitions:  OEM and USB Drive.

Partitioned USB Drive in Chrome OS Files App

Partitioned USB Drive in Chrome OS Files App

The problem is that if you reformat the USB Drive partition or the OEM partition, you will still have a partitioned drive.  In other words, just like in Windows or MacOS, reformatting doesn’t get rid of a partition.  You have to completely wipe the drive of data and partitions to get it back to one partition.

Fortunately, within Chrome OS, there is a quick and easy way to do this using the Chrome OS Recovery app itself.  In this How To, I will walk you through the quick process to take that multi-partition USB drive and reset it to one partition that is the size of the USB drive itself.

Older Chrome OS Devices Likely Not to Get Updated to Android P Framework

A new comment in Chrome OS Gerrit suggests that some older Chromebooks will not be getting updated to the Android P framework, including the 2015 Google Chromebook Pixel.  It isn’t entirely surprising, and not entirely confirmed for that matter, that Google would begin to pear back updates for the framework.

For those who aren’t familiar, the Android Framework is more-or-less the underpinnings that allows Chrome OS to install and run Android apps.  Right now that framework is based on Android Oreo but testing has long been in progress with Android P.  But, like some phones, there comes a point where the devices themselves can’t support the new framework or it causes performance issues.  While not confirmed, that’s likely the case for some older Chromebooks that can run Android apps.

Code Commit Suggest Google Assistant to Merge With Chrome OS Notification Area

A new comment and code commit found in the Chrome OS Gerrit suggests that a merger of Google Assistant and the native notification are of the platform are to be merged.  The merging is aimed to make the notification the one area where you interact with all your notifications and Assistant and could be paving the way for a broader Google Assistant rollout in the platform.

Today, Google Assistant is only available on the Google Pixelbook and has both a dedicated button to access (although it can be configured to respond to “Hey Google”) and a dedicate area where it pops up when accessed.   There is a screenshot after the break for those that don’t have a Pixelbook.

%d bloggers like this: