The latest Chrome OS update makes your Chromebook feel a little more Apple-y, as some of Chrome OS’s neat new capabilities rely on having an Android phone in tow. Google announced today that Chrome OS M103 is officially rolling out after being in beta for a few months. It contains features we have been waiting for since google teased it at CES† and one we’ve been waiting for more than a year†
As soon as you get the updateChrome OS’s Phone Hub lets you download photos directly from your Android device. This one makes it easier to transfer images between devices without uploading them to the cloud. The feature already exists for Windows 10/11 users with Android devices, because you can do something with the Phone Hub developed by Microsoft comparable†
The M103 update also introduces the ability to share Wi-Fi credentials via Near Share. Near Share is similar to Apple’s AirDrop in that it allows you to share files, photos, and music between Android and Chrome OS using Wi-Fi Direct. With the M103 update, you can push your Wi-Fi network credentials to a compatible Chromebook with a few taps on your Android phone.
To share Wi-Fi networks between Chrome OS and Android, you need to start the pairing process on your smartphone. In the Settings panel, tap Network & Internetselect Wi-Fi networkand tap the network you are connected to. Press Part icon to enter your device password and open the QR code. Below that you will see a button labeled Close to† Tap that to start the connection to your Chromebook. Your phone will then remove the network name and password and register your Chromebook for you.
Though not available until later this summer, Google also released an update to a feature reminiscent of the tap-to-setup mechanism between devices like the iPhone and Apple’s HomePod. quick pair is finally on its way (we’ve been waiting for it since May last year), and it allows you to connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones simply by tapping them on your Chromebook. If it works, you’ll see a popup notification asking if you want to pair, the same way you get a popup on iPhone asking if you want to connect a pair of AirPods. It is synergy caused by the magic of Bluetooth LE.
While not entirely new to Chrome OS, Google’s screencast is officially rolled out to everyone in this latest update. Screencast allows you to record, trim and share transcribed videos. It also allows you to write on the screen as if you were giving a presentation, then upload it to Google Drive for safekeeping.
The update should now be rolling out to Chromebooks. You can check if your device is updated under the About Chrome OS choice.