It’s a new year, 2024 is here, and so is Chrome OS 120. Packed with all kinds of cool little features, there’s nothing massive or headlining. I don’t think anything significant is going on here, but it’s a bunch of creature comfort stuff that just makes everyday tasks a little bit simpler. So, we wanted to walk you through each of these new additions to Chrome OS in this video. Let’s dive right in.
Virtual Desk Shelf
The first one we’re going to talk about is the Virtual Desks Shelf button. It’s not a great name, I guess, for a feature, but honestly, you’re not going to be referring to it by its name anyway. You can see it right now on my screen; down there, you see “Desk 1.” I haven’t created any virtual desks, and the first time you reboot, a lot of times, if you don’t have any desks open, you just kind of have your one desk there. That button won’t be there until you make some desks. But let me make a couple of desks here just for the heck of it.
Let me put a couple of things in each one fast. How about grabbing it and how about let’s do that? So, there you go. Now you can kind of see the difference between each of the three desks. Now, there are all these different ways to get between your desks. I prefer the “everything” key and then the little square brackets that are just above the inner key. Those move you around pretty quickly; that’s just been my tendency for a while. You can four-finger swipe as well if you want between those. But now, this new method is this little button down here. As you can see when I hover, I get an arrow, so I can jump through the desk that way. But I can also click on this and get a quick, almost like an ALT+TAB view of my desks and jump directly to them from there. Additionally, when I hover them, I can close that desk or I can hover that combines with desk one. So, you’ve got a couple of options there, and it also shows you the keyboard shortcut if you can see that down there, Shift+Search+3 to go to desk three. So, I’m going to go to desk one and do that shortcut real quick just to show you. Boom, jump right to desk three. So, a myriad of ways to get around your virtual desk, but this is yet another option that’s down there, especially if you’re navigating with the mouse. It’s super handy.
Self Share (Quick Share)
Next up, we have Self Share, which is part of Nearby Share, now called Quick Share as of CES 2024. Clunky naming aside, this is just a quicker way for you to share from your own devices to your own devices. This won’t work if I’m trying to share something to Joe’s computer, for instance. But if I’m just needing to get a file off my phone to my Chromebook pretty quickly and it’s not a picture in my camera roll (that’s part of Phone Hub), if it’s something else, a file, a link, anything, I can now pull up Nearby Share. I’m going to call it Nearby Share until I see it all branded as Quick Share because I don’t see Quick Share anywhere just yet. So, it’s still Nearby Sharing on my book.
But I’m going to pull up on my phone here. I’m just going to do a picture because that’s the simplest kind of file to get to. It’s a featured image photo I took. Again, I know this would be in the camera roll; I could just do it that way. That’s how I would do it if I was doing this. But to show you here, I’m going to hit Share, and then I’m going to click Nearby Share. You can see my Chromebook has shown up right up here. When I click it, now you can watch the screen on the Chromebook. As soon as I click it, instead of the Chromebook saying someone’s trying to share something with you, do you want to accept this share? You can see boom, it just popped in, shared it, and took it because it’s me sharing to me. So, there’s no need to be like, “Do you sure?”
Do you want this thing? Well, I was the one that shared it; of course, I want it. It just takes one more step out of the whole process. It doesn’t do anything different; it’s not like it’s sharing it in some new way. There’s new tech going on; it just takes out one of the steps that you used to have to do to click and accept the actual Nearby Share. Next up, we want to talk about a new feature that is in the App Manager.
A lot of you may not jump into this section of the Chrome OS settings very often. If you go to your settings, go to your apps section here, and then go up to manage apps, I’m just going to pick a couple of these. I know, for sure, Chrome Dev, I know that’s an Android app. If I click on it now, at the very bottom down here, let me maximize this a little bit. At the very bottom down here, you see app details, and it tells you it’s an Android app. It’s from the Google Play Store, and there’s a link right here. I can click it and go to where you would download or update that app in the Play Store. It tells me the app size, all that kind of stuff, what version it’s on. So, it’s nice to be able to see sometimes if you’re curious, like, where did I get that app, or how did this thing get on here? Now you can go to your app settings to see that stuff.
Let me pull one up, Chrome Canvas, for instance, is a web app pre-installed on your Chromebook. It tells you the storage and all that kind of stuff. Let me go to a web app that I installed from the Chrome browser. So, it’s very specific, it’s kind of cool. It tells you, like, I’m the one I installed that; I clicked it in the Chrome browser. It didn’t come from the Play Store. So, let me find out, I think YouTube Music should show. Yeah, perfect. It’s a web app installed from the Google Play Store. Again, I clicked the Google Play Store; it’s going to take me to the web app version of YouTube Music for Chromebook. It’s just one of those little helpful things that if you need to know where an app came from, how you installed it, or what it’s doing on your Chromebook, you can go right here and see all those details.
Next up are some new settings to customize your keyboard. Chrome OS has slowly but surely gotten better at allowing you to manipulate what you want to do with these keyboard keys. But Chrome OS 120 takes that a little farther. In your settings, go to device, go under the keyboard, and then custom keyboard keys. You can