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Google starts rolling out Chrome OS 91 with Nearby Share, app notification badges and more

Google is bringing Nearby Share to Chromebook and other Chrome OS devices, following its launch for Android last year.

twitter-logoSarthak Dogra | June 2, 2021 | Updated 21:07 IST
Google Nearby Share

Highlights

  • Chrome OS 91 is bringing a slew of features for Chrome OS devices.
  • The most important one is Nearby Share, which will now work much like Apple AirDrop for Chrome OS and Android devices.
  • Circular notification badges and new wallpapers are also being rolled out through the update.

Google is rolling out the Chrome OS 91 update to supported devices. With this, it will bring several new features to these platforms, including Nearby Share, new wallpapers, app notifications and an easier way to share files for offline use.

Nearby Share is the most important update rolling out with Chrome OS 91. The feature was first announced by Google for Chromebooks earlier this year. The Chrome OS 91will finally roll out the update to all the supported devices.

Nearby Share will let users share files between Chromebook and other Chrome OS or Android devices instantly, without sharing contact details, so the information and files of the two devices stay private.

The feature works even without an Internet connection, as it can send files over Bluetooth and peer-to-peer Wi-Fi. Nearby Share will appear on the updated devices under "Connected devices" in Settings.

Users will have the option to change the Device name and control data usage and contacts under the settings. They will also be able to select the visibility for their device, keeping it open to all or restricting it to some or no contacts.

Nearby Share can also be accessed through Quick Settings. When used through Quick Settings, the user device will be visible to nearby devices for five minutes and display Chrome OS and Android devices in the vicinity, much like how simple Bluetooth pairing works.

Once connected, users can share images, text or URLs, and other files with the other device.

Other updates on Chrome OS 91 include the addition of small, circular notification badges to app icons. These notifications badges will appear in the launcher, much like the ones seen in Android, and will help to notify users of any active notifications.

Google says that these badges can be turned off through Quick Settings > Notifications.

In addition, Google has added new wallpapers and account images for Chromebooks. Created by artist Leo Natsume, the wallpapers can be seen under Quick Settings > Personalization. Users can also right-click on their desktop and select "Set wallpaper" to "Imaginary."

There is another feature that Google will start rolling out later this month. The update will allow users to save their Google Docs, Sheets and Slides files for offline access through the Files app. The saved files can be opened and edited, even without an internet connection.

Users can switch this on by going to the Files app, selecting the Drive files they want to save and switching the "Available offline" toggle. Users will see a checkmark next to saved files and find them in the dedicated "Offline" folder.

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