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Chrome OS 78 Rolls Out to Chromebooks with Improved Linux Support, Virtual Desks

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Google has released today the Chrome OS 78 operating system for Chromebooks, a release that will arrive to users over the next several days and which brings several exciting new features, such as the Virtual Desks functionality we reported the other day, allowing Chromebook users to be more productive.

"You can now create up to 4 separate work spaces. Virtual Desks are for focusing on a single project or for quickly switching between multiple sets of windows. Create your first desk by opening Overview and tapping New Desk," said Google in the release notes.

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Chrome OS Virtual Desks, Click-to-Call now available

  • Chrome OS Virtual Desks, Click-to-Call now available on some Chromebooks

    With the new PixelBook Go, Google is positioning Chromebooks as the ultimate productivity computer, especially on the go. It may not always feel that way considering the missing features and software on Chrome OS. Fortunately, just like the browser on which it is based, Chrome OS is constantly and regularly evolving and the latest update brings new features that promise to take users’ productivity to the next level.

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  • Chrome OS: Yo dawg, I heard you like desktops so we put a workspace in your workspace

    Google has added virtual desktops to its Chrome OS, used in Chromebooks, enabling users to create multiple workspaces and switch between them.

    The virtual desktop feature is the biggest of several updates. Once the update is installed, a New Desk icon appears in the top right corner of the desktop. You can display virtual desktops full screen or side by side, and drag windows between desktops. These operations can be done with touch, mouse, trackpad or using keyboard shortcuts.

    Virtual desktops have been available in Windows 10, macOS and Linux for some time so Google is catching up with these established operating systems.

    Another new feature is the ability to right-click a phone number in Chrome and send it to an Android phone. This requires enabling sync between the Chrome browser on both devices.

Chrome OS 78 rolling out

  • Chrome OS 78 rolling out: Split browser/device settings, YouTube for Android PiP, more

    Chrome is getting another cross-device sharing feature after “Send this page” widely rolled in September. With “click-to-call,” you can right-click on phone number links — like tel:800-800-8000 — to have them sent to your Android device. It’s quicker than manually entering those digits or transferring via email.

    Chrome OS 78 will separate browser and device settings. The former is accessible directly at chrome://settings and what opens when clicking “Settings” at the bottom of the Overflow menu in the top-right corner of any browser window. It opens as a tab and provides web-related preferences. Meanwhile, chrome://os-settings opens as its own window, and can be accessed from the quick settings sheet. It provides device options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Assistant in a white Material Theme UI with an icon in the launcher/app shelf.

  • Chrome OS 78 Rolling Out With Picture-In-Picture Support For YouTube, Split Browser/Device Settings, More

    The latest version of Chrome OS, version 78, adds separate browser and device settings, click-to-call, and picture-in-picture support for YouTube. It also introduces virtual desktop support for the operating system with a feature called Virtual Desks.

Chrome OS 80 will start using Debian 10 Buster on new Linux

  • Chrome OS 80 will start using Debian 10 Buster on new Linux installations

    At Google I/O last year, Google announced Linux app support for Chrome OS. This is made possible thanks to installing a GNU/Linux distribution, specifically Debian 9 “Stretch”, in a Linux container. Earlier this year, the Debian project announced Debian 10 “Buster,” but Google wasn’t ready to upgrade the default Linux container on Chromebooks just yet. Now, after months of testing and bug fixing, Google is ready to enable Debian 10 “Buster” as the default Linux container in Chrome OS.

    According to a recently merged commit we spotted in the Chromium Gerrit, new Crostini (the code-name for Linux apps on Chrome OS) installations will get Debian 10 by default. The commit doesn’t mention how Chromebooks with existing Debian 9 “Stretch” installations will be migrated to the newer version, but users can easily upgrade the container themselves by running a few commands. Upgrading to the newer version of Debian enables new features and should also bring greater application support. For the truly enterprising, it’s even possible to replace the Debian container with Arch Linux.

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