Google’s continuous improvements to Chrome OS aren’t always hyped, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of a little attention.
Here are some of the neat features coming to a Chromebook near you.
Better full screen mode. If you have tried to play Netflix, YouTube or other such services in fullscreen mode, you would have noticed the ugly pop-up notification about allowing full screen. The Chrome OS team is working on a simplified UI that will have fullscreen mode be granted automatically, and if you want to exit fullscreen, there will be a bubble for it (or you can always exit full screen by hitting the “Esc” key). This feature is currently in the Dev or Canary channel. To test it, just open ‘chrome://flags/#simplified-fullscreen-ui ‘ and enable the “Simplified fullscreen / mouse lock UI” flag.
Better management of videos. It isn’t news to anyone that auto-playing videos, which are embedded throughout many websites, are extremely annoying. In an earlier version of Chrome, you wouldn’t even know where the sound was coming from. Then Google added a ‘speaker’ icon to the tabs which were playing such media. It was still annoying. Now, they are making it better and playback will not start unless that tab is in the foreground. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to play music or videos in the background: Once you bring the tab to the foreground, enabling the video, it will continue to play even when it’s moved to the background. This feature is available in the Dev/Canary channels.
Spell checking for multiple languages. This one is tricky. There have been instances where I had to mix various languages in the same story, especially when I was working on my novel. The Chrome OS teams are experimenting with spell checking multiple languages at the same time. If you are running the Dev/Canary channel you can enable the ” Multilingual Spellchecker” flag here “chrome://flags/#enable-multilingual-spellchecker.” And you can enable as many languages you want to use at “chrome://settings/languages”.
Some more GUI improvements. Those who are running the Dev channel of Chrome OS will notice a brand new UI for the Gallery app, which showcases new slideshow mode and image editing icons.
The network indicator has also received an update where a nifty Wi-Fi scanning indicator has replaced the old and annoying “Searching for Wi-Fi networks” text.
Google is bringing the ‘Material’ design to Chrome OS, gradually. Dev channel users can now enable Material design on the download page. All you need to do is go to “chrome://flags/#enable-md-downloads” and enable the “Material Design downloads” flags.
If you are a Chromebook user, what do you think of these upcoming improvements?