Chrome OS Update Brings New-Look Browser To Chromebooks

Google’s redesign of the Chrome browser earlier this month has arrived on Chromebook notebooks with the release of Chrome OS 69 this week.

Aside from a significantly new look for the browser, the new version of Chrome OS gives select devices the ability to run Linux apps, as well as adding a tool for changing colour balance throughout the day and easier access to voice dictation.

Version 69 of the Chrome browser launched earlier this month on the Android, macOS, Windows and Linux platforms with rounded edges to tabs, replacing the previous sharp corners.

The New Tab page has a new look with a pure white background and an address bar with rounded sides.  Users can set custom background images on this page.

The Chrome 69 browser has been significantly redesigned. Image credit: Google

Omnibar

The browser’s Omnibar address bar has new features too, displaying the results to search queries instantly in a drop-down window.

The results displayed in the drop-down window include weather, definitions, sports scores, translations and answers to questions.

Google had earlier said it would remove the “www.” from the beginning of addresses displayed in Chrome 69’s Omnibar, but has now delayed that change to Chrome 70.

Linux support

Google is continuing to test Linux for Chromebooks, with the feature now entering the stable channel on devices including some chromebooks from Acer, Samsung and Lenovo.

The feature allows developers to run Linux applications, editors and other command-line tools through a terminal window, and is aimed in part at allowing developers to create and test Android apps via Android Studio directly on a Chromebook.

Night Light

A new option called Night Light brings in a feature popularised with the f.lux utility and more recently built into macOS with Apple’s Night Shift.

The feature shifts the display’s colour balance throughout the day in order to manage eye strain. It includes an automated sunrise and sunset schedule, or users can create their own customised pattern.

Other features

For those frequently accessing voice dictation, Chrome OS 69 adds a microphone button in the status bar, making the feature easier to access.

Google has also brought in a new Settings page for global text-to-speech features.

The settings can be used to set system-wide synthesised voice, language, pitch and rate, Google said.

Chrome OS’ Files app now has native support for Team Drives, a Google cloud feature for storing, searching and accessing files.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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