4 Fancy New Chrome OS Features to Watch for This Summer

Google, modified by IDG Comm

If there’s one problem with Chrome OS upgrades, it’s that they happen so frequently and with such little fanfare that they often slip by completely unnoticed. And that means your Chromebook or Chromebox might get some valuable new capability that you never even realize is there.

1. Virtual desktops

Okay, this first one is technically one we’ve already been watching for a while now — but its development has come quite a way as of late, and we’re finally starting to see just how much productivity-boosting potential it could actually have.  Virtual desktops — or “Virtual Desks,” as Google currently appears poised to brand the feature — is a system that lets you create multiple isolated work areas within Chrome OS and then switch between ’em with a couple quick gestures or keystrokes.

2. More Android-Chromebook connectivity

Google’s been working to align Android and Chrome OS for ages, as we’ve seen little by little over time. While much of the effort revolves around creating consistent interface concepts between the two platforms, there’s also a push to make Android phones and Chromebooks work together in interesting and genuinely useful new ways.  Google stepped up the effort several versions back with a new streamlined section in Chrome OS’s settings devoted entirely to “connected devices” and the ways Android phones and Chromebooks “work better together.”

3. Media playback controls for Android app notifications

Being able to use Android apps on a Chromebook is pretty spectacular — and soon, the experience will get even better thanks to a subtle but significant incoming improvement.  Google is in the midst of bringing media playback controls to Android app notifications in Chrome OS. That means if you’re using an Android app like YouTube to watch a video offline (something that isn’t possible on any computer without the presence of Android app support, incidentally) or using an Android-based podcasting or music-streaming app to liven up your work day and/or commute, you’ll be able to control the playback right from the app’s persistent notification.

4. Better Linux app performance on Chrome OS

No question about: The presence of Linux apps on Chromebooks is a transformational factor for the power-user crowd. But even so, it’s a work in progress; the ability to run Linux apps on Chrome OS is technically still a beta-level effort, which means the more advanced pieces of the puzzle are perpetually unfinished. Linux apps just received the ability to play audio last month, for instance, and support for audio input in those apps is still pending.

The information for this post was taken from an article by JR Raphael in COMPUTERWORLD, follow this link for the complete article and more details.