Google celebrates 10 years of Chromebooks with major Chrome OS upgrade

Google has announced a major upgrade for Chrome OS to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Chromebooks. A part of Chrome OS 89, the update is beginning to roll out to all supported Chromebook users now.

Right off the bat, there’s tighter integration between your Chromebook and your phone. A new feature called Phone Hub lets you manage notifications on your phone like texts and act on them accordingly (e.g. respond to messages). You can also check your phone’s battery life, cell signal, and location. Chrome OS will also let you open recent Chrome tabs you had pulled up on your phone.

Google is also bringing Wi-Fi Sync to Chrome OS to let your Chromebook automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks you have saved on your phone. The company will also be bringing Nearby Share to the system to make sharing files easier between your devices, although that feature won’t ship for a few more months.

Chrome OS 89 also includes a new Screen Capture tool in Quick Settings to take more precise screenshots and recordings of your display. Captures will automatically go to your Tote which is essentially an upgraded clipboard, allowing you to view recent downloads and captures along with pinned files for quick access.

Speaking of a clipboard, that’s another part of Chrome OS that’s getting updated. Google says you’ll now be able to view you five most recent copied items by pressing the Everything Button + V. The company is also adding Quick Answers which will automatically add information to text (a definition for a word, a translation, an equation, etc.) you highlight and right-click on so you don’t have to Google them.

Desks in Chrome OS are also getting updated. Now, when you reboot your Chromebook, all of your windows will restore to the original state in which you left them. You’ll be able to right-click the top of a window to send it directly to a desk, along with swiping with four fingers to cycle between desks.

Google is also enhancing the setup UI of Family Link to highlight the ability of adding a school account and PIN. Rounding things off are minor improvements to sharing media between apps, select-to-speak, and Chrome OS’ iconography.