Chrome OS Weekly S1 Ep 2: Chrome OS Stable 74, Virtual desktop, YouTube Music
Chrome OS 74 Update Hits Stable Channel
Just last week, we covered some of the upcoming features in Chrome OS 74 update and many of them have been made a reality as the much-anticipated update is currently being rolled out – albeit slowly depending on your device – to the stable channel.
The highlights of this update include pdf annotation with all the standard features already available in Google Keep, a revamped Google Assistant pop-up that’s now integrated with the system-wide Chrome OS search, extensive support for external webcams and audio output support for Linux(Crostini). More details below.
Even more details on the M74 update:
Chrome OS Upcoming Virtual Desktop in Action [Multiple Videos]
Virtual desktops are typically the norm on competing platforms such as Windows, macOS and GNU/Linux and quite excitingly, it is set to make a debut on Chrome OS sometime in the nearer future.
The proposed feature is relatively new and not the highest on the priority list of Chrome devs but we have videos – including one showcasing virtual desktops on a dual display – to feast our eyes upon (courtesy of the Chrome devs) until virtual desktops make primetime in Chrome OS.
Please note that this feature is a very early work in progress, and these demos should not be considered indicative of its final state. They are just posted here to help the code reviewers see what the CL under review is implementing. Thanks!
Just as you may have noticed from the video, there’s currently no fancy desk switch animation, neither is there any mini view content in sight. And again the videos above are not a representation of a final product so we may very well expect changes in the form of omissions or additions before it finally rolls out.
Chrome’s Picture in Picture mode (PiP) Will Soon Support Arbitrary Content
Chrome’s PiP has been a godsend for videos especially those on YouTube. It’s a feature that essentially enables you to pop out videos from websites that support the PiP API so you may have more screen real estate to multitask (albeit without the option of tab-agnosticism).
At the moment, main video hosting sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, and Vimeo have already implemented the functionality. However, It is such that not a majority of lesser known video-centric sites support the feature even after 2 years of PiP’s debut.
Perhaps the PiP bandwagon doesn’t sound as attractive an offer as it may seem cause web publishers and hosters alike will still prefer you to spend more time on their sites as opposed to relegating their content to a “mini sideshow” that you may not be actively viewing. The upcoming update to PiP will essentially enable web content creators to place arbitrary code in PiP functionality. This move will allegedly enable just about any HTML code to run within this miniaturized window. it remains to be seen how Google plans to negate the potential abuse of this new “privilege” that’s yet to be bestowed upon us.
However the case, there’s potentially more to benefit than to lose and if the worst-case scenario were to happen (I’ll leave that to your imagination), I’d reckon it won’t be long before someone cooks up an effective antidote a la ad blockers. More details below.
YouTube Music Will Now Play Offline Music on Your Chromebook
Once upon a time, Google Play Music used to be a thing with the ability to upload your local library (up to 50,000 songs to be exact) to your account and stream on demand. After the announcement of YouTube Music and the subsequent (ongoing) merge of Google Play Music and YouTube Music, the ability to play sideloaded songs has been a widely requested feature and I wouldn’t deny the fact that I was one of those that waited for it even though I already relied heavily on Rocket Player:
Apparently, there’s been a number of folks on Reddit lucky enough to have received the update that enables this functionality on their smartphones. Unfortunately for them (pun intended) I’ll continue to hang on the sidelines for now – earnestly waiting for a revamp of the abhorrent user interface of the Youtube Music app on Chrome OS.
For what it’s worth, the feature works just as intended/advertised without the ability to queue songs from your YouTube Playlist together with those from your local playlist. You also can’t cast local songs.
Save for the annoyances of the YouTube Music app, we can agree that this is a step in the right direction. Whatever the case may be, it is my hope that this improves with time and in time and I might just renew my subscription. If you dislike the implementation of Google’s offline functionality in YTM, then you should seriously consider the best iTunes alternative for Chrome OS