Chrome OS 74 takes a big step towards becoming even more usable


Google has been promoting Chrome OS and Chromebooks as the platform to use to get real work done but even its fans will admit it’s not there yet. Juggling three platforms in one probably isn’t easy so when Google does make strides in all of them, there’s reason for Chrome OS users to celebrate. The latest major release, version 74, won’t immediately make it the OS to finally beat Windows and macOS but at least now it can be more useful especially for Linux users.

Linux is the latest to be supported by Chrome OS, allowing developers to make use of Google’s platform for their own “real work”, whether that involves system administration or app development. Support is far from complete though and users might find themselves partially deaf when running Linux apps on Chrome OS. Fortunately, as of version 74, Linux programs can finally be heard.

Even though it’s older, Android support isn’t also done yet. The latest feature to be added is support for USB cameras in the Android Camera app. While almost all Chromebooks have webcams for voice chat, some people do need to make use of external cameras or video equipment for their work. Now they won’t have to boot up Windows to do so, presuming Android and Chrome OS recognizes the device properly.

With Linux, Android, and Chrome itself all in one platform, it might easily become a confusing mess trying to jump back into what you were doing previously. Chrome OS’ updated search box can make that a bit easier by presenting recent apps and even recent Google searches when you activate it. Presuming you don’t type anything to the search just yet.

On the Chrome OS side, the native PDF viewer finally gets support for annotations. You can also now save files or create new folders in My file’s local root directory instead of being limited to the Downloads folder. These may not be groundbreaking changes but they might just be the changes some users need in truly making Chrome OS work for them.

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