Google aims to build an ecosystem worth rivaling Apple
Google is working to strengthen its ever-growing ecosystem of products. Between Android, ChromeOS, and all of your various accessories, making sure everything feels like a connected platform is essential, especially as some of the best Chromebooks around get even better. Starting with ChromeOS 103, Google is bringing all sorts of features first teased throughout the last six months, including Nearby Share support, recent photos in Phone Hub, and more.
None of today’s Chromebook announcements are surprises — in fact, some of them have been known for more than a year. First announced at Google I/O last year, the Phone Hub is getting support for recent images, with photos automatically uploaded and sent to your device straight from your phone. It happens in the background, even while your Chromebook is offline, so you can grab and download images right to your laptop without tethering or hunting down a local Wi-Fi hotspot. Although some users got early access to this feature a few weeks ago, it’s great to see it finally coming to all devices.
It’s not the only improvement to files. Nearby Share is getting support for Wi-Fi password sharing from Android. You’ll be able to share Wi-Fi network information from the settings of any Android phone, with Chromebooks appearing within the Nearby tile. There’s no action needed on your part — the network name and password are auto-delivered to the Chromebook, connecting it online in seconds.
Finally, Google reiterated that Fast Pair is coming to Chromebooks in a future update later this summer. It’s something the company first announced way back at CES — and we’ve known about it for even longer. Once it’s live, you’ll be able to pair any supported device to your laptop in seconds, all without digging through the settings menu. Fast Pair doesn’t just speed up the sync process — it also links your headphones to your Google account, so they’ll start working on every device you use regularly.
These features, along with a new Screencast tool for teachers that Google announced earlier this month, are all coming as part of ChromeOS 103. It should be available as a stable update shortly.