Google has officially released version 64 of its Chrome OS with much-needed new features in tow. Mostly, though, the update benefits Chromebook users, as the new version includes split-screen features for multitasking in tablet mode, which is perfect for 2-in-1 Chromebook models.
There's also a screenshot shortcut borrowed directly from Android, which allows users to press the home button and volume down button at the same time to capture what's on their screen at any given time.
Chrome OS And Android Together?
The features included in the new upgrade are relatively standard, but they do hint at how Chrome OS could one day fully replace tablet versions of Google's Android operating system. Chrome OS is slowly becoming an excellent alternative to Android in terms of tablet-based ecosystems, and Chrome 64's new features prove that it could one day be a hybrid OS for all devices made by Google.
Not that there's any surprise, really. Google's Android and Chrome teams have collaborated closely to make sure that 2-in-1 Chromebooks offer both excellent laptop and tablet-specific features, improving how a hybrid machine should function. Plus, Android apps can run on Chrome OS devices, though there are still some plenty of kinks in that department that need some rigorous cleaning up. Google also began making Chrome OS a touchscreen-friendly experience, beginning to redesign the whole thing in July 2017 to offer a more native tablet interface.
Of course, that isn't saying Chrome OS and Android will one day merge together completely, nor does it mean that their individual platforms will be obsolete at some point. Only that Google might finally be realizing that merging the two is the best decision but that doing so would cause great repercussions as both these operating systems are already well-established within the developer community. Combining them would be a drastic change, needless to say.
Back to Chrome 64: the new and upgraded browser comes with a bevy of other Android app-related improvements, most notably a revamped Intent Picker for Play apps with "same window by default with override" behavior. Chrome 64 now also makes it possible to enable VPN for apps, while there are also "Android Container auto update optimizations."
As for the browser, there are improvements in its built-in popup blocker that will prevent malicious sites from opening new tabs when suspicious links are clicked on. The browser also stops auto-redirects from third-party content within pages. Finally, Google has added sitewide audio muting settings to combat the frustrating behavior of autoplaying content.