New features have come to ChromeOS! ChromeOS devs have been hard at work implementing features such as 4-zone RGB keyboard support, accessibility improvements, and prioritized audio device detection. Today, we’re highlighting a few interesting and impactful features introduced with ChromeOS 106, 107, 108, and 109.
ChromeOS 106 moved into stable release on September 27, 2022. New features included changes to default link capture behavior, 4-zone RGB keyboard support, and setting persistence for the note pen.
- RGB keyboard: Control your RGB keyboard across four defined zones with the Personalization Hub UI. When you click the Rainbow option, the colors will appear across four zones—rather than a per-key rainbow effect. Read more about using keyboard backlighting on supported devices: Use gaming features on your Chromebook.
- Links: Newly installed apps will no longer handle links clicked in the browser by default. Links clicked in the browser will now open in the browser, unless the “Opening supported links” setting is enabled within the Settings app.
- Note pen: Color and size settings now persist. Customize your pen while writing notes and your customization will persist into a new session. In the note library, your favorite pen settings—such as color or size—will carry into new notes.
On October 25, 2022, ChromeOS 107 introduced a variety of new features, including: save and recall desks, the Human Presence Sensor, and accessibility enhancements.
- Virtual Desks: As of ChromeOS 107, you can save and close an entire Virtual Desk. Save your desk state—including app windows and layouts—whenever you want to switch gears or focus on a different task. When you’re ready to switch back, you can open your saved desk with a click.
- Human Presence Sensor: ChromeOS 107 introduced new privacy features leveraging the Human Presence Sensor. The Human Presence Sensor will lock the screen when you leave—and alert you when another person is looking at your screen. Related features include “Keep Awake,” which prevents the screen from dimming when you’re present, and “Viewing Protection,” which alerts you when an additional person is detected.
- ChromeOS accessibility: ChromeOS 107 provides a variety of improvements to its accessibility settings, including more accurate search results, easier to understand feature descriptions, and modifications to the layout for increased discoverability.
On November 29, 2022, ChromeOS 108 moved into stable release. ChromeOS 108’s highlights included a faster virtual keyboard, multi-page document scanning, and improved trash management.
- Virtual keyboard: If you have a Chromebook with a touchscreen, it’s now even easier to type what you want with a newly redesigned virtual keyboard. With just a tap on the new header bar, you can switch between languages, pull up the emoji library, or access the handwriting tool. The virtual keyboard also processes fast typing even faster—no need to slow yourself down.
- ChromeOS Camera App: Manage your documents digitally. Now you can create multi-page PDFs using the document scanning function in the ChromeOS Camera App.
- FileApps trash: Previously, deleting a file from “My files” would instantly and permanently delete it. Now, it will go to a new “Trash” section. You’ll have 30 days to change your mind before it’s permanently deleted. Note: This new feature doesn’t support Play, Linux, or Windows file locations.
On January 12, 2023, ChromeOS 109 was released to the stable channel. Highlights of this release include prioritized audio device selection, color picker improvements, and an expansion of user satisfaction surveys.
- Audio devices: If you use your ChromeOS device in multiple scenarios—such as in the office, school, and home—switching between audio devices just became easier. ChromeOS 109 maintains a priority list of audio devices, ordered by user preference. Activate, plug in, or unplug a headset or speakers, and your ChromeOS device will pull the associated settings.
- Color picker improvements: In the ChromeOS color palette dialog, you can now choose between Palette and Custom tabs. Tapping the Custom tab displays a freeform color select tool. Users can also enter a HEX code to choose a specific color.
- Happiness tracking: ChromeOS uses Happiness Tracking Surveys (HaTS) surveys to measure user attitudes and ultimately improve user experiences. In ChromeOS 109, we send an expanded dataset for analysis to the User Metrics Analysis (UMA) server.
We’re always excited to find out more about what you enjoy (and what you still need) from ChromeOS—and more user-centered refinements and features are still in the works. Have any suggestions or feedback regarding our releases? Send us feedback.