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Update makes Chromebooks better for work and play

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All Google Chromebooks(s goog), even the first beta devices, have a large software update waiting for them. On Tuesday, Google announced that the web-centric notebooks would get the newest version of the Chrome browser — version 21 — but also a number of small feature enhancements and new functionality. My own Chromebook was last updated on July 28, showing that Google continues to improve its Chromebook devices on a timely basis.

Since all work on a Chromebook is done in the browser — you can’t install software on the laptop — Chrome 21 is the biggest part of the update, which all machines will get over the next few days.

But there’s more than just a better browser: user interface changes, a newer version of Adobe Flash(s adbe), support for more wired and wireless devices, and new plug-in versions are all included.

Here’s a rundown of some of the changes Chromebook users can expect after the update:

  • A redesigned App list that doesn’t require a new screen; you can use it on the main desktop area
  • A new print dialog that integrates Google Cloud Print devices
  • Custom wallpaper
  • Offline support to work in the Google Docs app
  • LTE support in the modem manager
  • Support for standard USB audio devices and wireless gamepads
  • Updated plug-ins for GTalk and Netflix (s nflx)
  • A three-finger tap works as a middle button on the trackpad

I’m most excited for the wireless gamepad support and it’s likely the first feature I’ll try after I get the update. If you look at my video overview of the Chromebook, you’ll see me show off an incredible web-based game called Bastion at the 9:15 mark of the vid:

The problem is: I don’t often play it because I’m terrible at navigating through game play on a keyboard. With wireless gamepad support that issue is addressed and I should be able to use the gamepad with my Android tablets as well.

16 Responses to “Update makes Chromebooks better for work and play”

  1. i LOVED the chromebook when i saw it but now i wish i could have gotten a better laptop.You wonder why? well because we cant download anything.please fix it!!!!!!!

  2. Charles

    Kevin you old fashion guy! It’s time to update your video creation software away from FLASH! ’cause even if it’s free, a majority of people can’t watch it on their preferred device aside their phone. And you should know, you use your chromebook almost exclusively, if I recall? No more Flash player after the upcoming update – even YOU won’t be able to watch your creations on your main window onto the world.

    Hey Mr. Malik, can you give poor oll Kevin a hand here?

    • Charles

      Hey, not fair, the upcoming Chrome book update will still support Flash!
      Well, I’d really like to watch your video, but I can’t on my Nexus 7 – my main information consumption device.