ChromeOS finally steals a faster multitasking feature from Windows and MacOS

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ChromeOS homescreen

Ed Bott/ZDNET

Your Chromebook is about to get a handful of helpful enhancements. On Thursday, Google announced that ChromeOS 124 is rolling out to the Stable channel over the next few days and used a support page to describe the key new features.

First on the list is a faster setup for the Split Screen process. Chromebooks currently offer several ways to juggle the windows on your screen, with Split Screen arguably the most popular method. The new Faster Split Screen Setup option lets you more quicky set up your multi-window layout by displaying an overview of all your open windows on one side of the screen.

After you snap a specific window into place on one side, you can select another open window from the Overview panel to snap to the other side. You can also choose a different app from the shelf, the row of apps that appears at the bottom or side of your screen. With this update, ChromeOS borrows a page from Windows and macOS, both of which offer their own methods for snapping two windows into place so they appear side-by-side.

Also: I revived three ancient computers with ChromeOS Flex, and you can too

In second place is a change aimed at the gamer in you or if you use your Chromebook to join video conferences via Wi-Fi. ChromeOS 124 adds a Quality of Service (QoS) feature that prioritizes video conferencing and gaming apps on clogged Wi-Fi networks. The new feature should provide smoother video and gameplay with less buffering and stuttering.

Next up are new custom cursor sizes for the mouse. With ChromeOS 124, you can change the mouse cursor size by adjusting a slider. For this, go to Settings, select Accessibility, and then click “Cursor and Touchpad.” Just move the slider to the right to increase the cursor size. Google touts this as a benefit for people with low vision, for teachers and others who want people to follow a presentation, or for anyone who just wants a bigger mouse cursor.

There’s one more tweak for your mouse: Fast Pair has arrived in ChromeOS. Google’s Fast Pair service uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to more easily and quickly find nearby Bluetooth devices. On your Chromebook, you’ll be able to bring a Fast Pair-compatible mouse near your device and pair it with just a single click.

ChromeOS 124 arriving in the Stable channel means that the new version is ready for you to use.

Google currently offers five ChromeOS channels: Stable, Long-term support (LTS), LTS candidate (LTC), Beta, and Dev. Releases in the Stable channel have been thoroughly tested by the ChromeOS test team, letting Google roll them out to most users. The Stable channel is updated every two to three weeks for minor updates and every four weeks for major updates.





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