Chromebooks add easy sharing of photos, Wi-Fi passwords, and more

Google has begun rolling out features to Chromebooks that it announced earlier in the year, specifically Nearby Share, easier Bluetooth connectivity, and the Screencast app.

None of the features coming to Chromebooks are new, per se; however, they simply close the book on features that the company had previously announced. The upgrades will roll out as part of Chrome OS 103, also known as Chrome OS M103.

In March 2021, Google announced Phone Hub, a small dashboard that could be used to control your phone from your Chromebook, with features that included the ability to locate your phone and silence it, among others. Now, Google is adding the ability to see recent photos that your Android phone took, automatically. This feature is similar to the same photo capability that’s in Microsoft’s Your Phone application for Windows 10 and 11.

Google also announced Nearby Share at the same event, which can beam photos and other files to nearby Chromebooks or Android phones. Now Google is adding the capability to get those devices online, as well; if you so choose, you can beam the SSID and password of your in-home Wi-Fi to nearby guest devices.

Google will also begin rolling out the Screencast app to Chromebooks this week. Announced earlier this month as part of a Google education launch, Screencast is similar to the ability of Android and Chrome OS devices to share their screens on supported displays. Screencast, however, includes some limited editing capabilities to record and share what students have learned.

Finally, Google said that it will roll out Fast Pair later this summer. The technology auto-magically connects Bluetooth devices like earbuds to a phone or Chromebook, and passes along that information to other Chromebooks or Android phones you may own in the future.

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