5 new Chrome OS features you should find right now

Android may be Google’s highest profile platform, but Chrome OS is the arguably the place where the fastest and most exciting progress tends to go down these days.

Every year as of late, we see leaps and bounds being made in how Chromebooks work and what they’re capable of doing — the types of programs they’re able to run, the kinds of advantages they’re able to offer, and the interesting ways they’re able to interact with Android to create a more connected and cohesive-feeling experience.

And while lots o’ folks are fast to write Chrome OS off as an irrelevant experiment, let me remind you: Those sentiments are based mostly on outdated myths from the platform’s earliest days. Chrome OS is nearly a decade old now, and Chromebooks today are surprisingly capable — almost ironically so, given the product’s original limited purpose. What’s more, they’re actually selling faster than Macs at this point, with Chrome OS representing roughly 13% of all U.S. computer shipments in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to Apple’s 8.7% share, according to Gartner.

So, yeah: When someone scoffs at the very idea of Chrome OS, their comment is usually less about the platform’s irrelevance and more about their own ignorance. Chromebooks are increasingly sophisticated and valuable productivity tools — and from the looks of it, their growth and development won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Here are five interesting elements Google’s got cookin’ with Chrome OS right now — including one that’s already broadly rolled out and four that are under development but readily available, if you know how to find ’em.

Chrome OS feature #1: A native tab manager

This first new Chrome OS feature showed up just before the holidays, so you’d be forgiven for not noticing — but you’d also be well-advised to avoid overlooking it for long. It’s an incredibly handy built-in system for managing your open tabs, searching ’em, and quickly jumping from one to another in the blink of an eye.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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