Google’s cloud-based operating system has come a long way since its inception. Each new software update seems to bring it closer to par with Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac operating systems. A new ChromeOS update, due this fall, brings long-awaited features like native PDFs and video editing. It also adds virtual desktops, which have long been a staple of Windows and macOS. This may be what helps convince some people to choose a Chromebook as their primary computer.
Virtual offices, as ChromeOS calls them, will make it easy to bundle the apps you use so you don’t have to deal with the wrong windows. Once the update arrives in late September, you’ll be able to save and back up different groups as desired. This includes all windows and applications within the office. It will be interesting to see how Chrome OS treats compilation in Android apps and Chrome windows as part of compilation.
If you’ve been working on your Chromebook, you’ll likely come out with a big personality, Charlie Brown-esque Argh! When I found out there is no annotation PDF extension on ChromeOS. Fortunately, the next update rolls this capability right into the Gallery app, which is the default media app for your Chromebook. You will be able to fill out forms, highlight and sign documents, and add text. Previously, if you wanted to do any of this, you had to find a worthy Chrome extension (I still use we) or some other service to do something straightforward, like sign a contract.
If you also manage your work schedule with a Chromebook, the software will offer better calendar integration and push notifications after an update. You’ll be able to take a quick look at events right from the popup in the taskbar instead of going to your browser’s calendar page.
Google has added a few other simple additions to ChromeOS to help simplify the overall experience. If you’re in a classroom or perhaps giving a “look back” slideshow to friends and family, you can now easily cast your ChromeOS screen to a nearby compatible screen. You will be able to record and view the transcribed videos and then share them after the presentation.
If you’re using a Chromebook with a stylus, the update will add the Cursive app to your desktop so you can take handwritten notes. New light and dark themes are also appearing that can help design your desktop. You can even choose a wallpaper from one of your Google Photos albums and change it dynamically daily.
All of these new features will be coming to ChromeOS sometime in August. The virtual office feature will be rolling out in late September.
Make movies with your Chromebook
Nobody thinks of a Chromebook as a video editor, In itself, but it’s nice if you can soon group the clips accumulated in your Google Photos album together. This feature is coming to other devices – most likely, Android smartphones will be able to access the feature through the corresponding Photos app.
Like the automatic album creation feature already available in Google Photos, the app will allow you to easily create a “movie” from a set of clips. All you have to do is choose a theme and two clips, then let the video maker work its magic. You will also be able to create your own movie by selecting the clips, arranging them in order, and editing them. You will also be able to apply different filters from Google Photos, such as Real Tone Filter.
For serious video editing endeavors, Google has announced that LumaFusion, a video app popular with iPad users, is also making its way to Chromebooks. The app is much more complex than this simple video editing suite, although you will likely have to pay for the app before you can access its features.
Google doesn’t have an official release date for Chrome OS’ new video editing capabilities. Only that it will be available first on Chromebooks this fall.
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