Chrome OS’ new Phone Hub lets you control some Android tools remotely


It’s Chrome OS’s 10th anniversary this year, and Google is rolling out a bunch of new features to celebrate, which should be rolling out to users soon. While some of these features may have been available earlier in developer releases, they are starting to roll out widely today.

One of the most notable new features is Phone Hub, which provides quick access to useful features on your phone. For example, you can now turn off or locate your phone right from your Chromebook, as well as turn on a hotspot. The latter can be especially handy if you’re on the go a lot and constantly need to switch between Wi-Fi and mobile data.

But maybe my favorite feature in Phone Hub is quick access to the two most recent tabs I’ve used on my phone. I use my phone and my laptop in the same way for navigation; having to navigate to my last page on the previous device is getting tedious, so it’s nice to see tighter integration here. The new hub, which is in the lower right corner of your screen, will also allow you to quickly see your phone’s battery life.

There are a lot more announcements today. Nearby Sharing, Google’s vision for AirDrop, will let you instantly share files between Chromebooks, as well as Android devices, so you don’t have to email each other files anymore. There’s also a new screenshot tool in Quick Settings that lets you quickly take a screenshot or record a video without having to remember the keyboard shortcut.

That brings us to one of the other coolest new features out there, called Tote. It’s basically a hub for quick access to things you might need right away or use on a regular basis. For example, you’ll see your recent screenshots here, along with recent downloads and pinned files; you can pin any file just by right clicking on any file in Explorer app. You can also access Tote on the right side of the Chrome OS shelf.

Other new features include:

  • Quick responses let you highlight text to quickly find definitions and information.
  • The clipboard now stores the last five items you copied.
  • Desktops, Chrome OS’s take on virtual windows, now maintains your app’s layout even after a restart. You can also now right-click a window to send it to one or all desktops.
  • Google updated the icons for Chrome OS built-in apps.
  • Select to Speak, Chrome OS’s narration tool, now lets you speed up, slow down, or pause narration.

Updates are being rolled out to users. To find out more about what’s new, you can visit the Google hub here.

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Published March 9, 2021 – 19:06 UTC


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