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Chrome OS 83: Rename Virtual Desks, Family Link updates, Assistant media control

After rolling out last week to Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android, Chrome OS 83 is now available. There are a number of usability improvements, as well as a trio of new Family Link features.

Virtual Desks can now be named with those labels persisting through device reboots and crashes. Just tap on “Desk 1” when in Overview to start editing.

Back in April, Google whitelisted seven extensions for Chromebooks managed with Family Link. Version 83 lets parents approve any extension download by entering their Google Account password on the child’s device. Another Family Link update in Chrome OS 83 adds per-app time limits for Android applications with notification reminders, while school accounts can now be added for Family Link users.

Speaking of extensions, Google has redesigned that menu with a focus on privacy. You can still pin to the right of the address bar, but there’s a new puzzle icon to see a list of everything installed and what data can be accessed by each.

After revamping Chromebook’s tablet mode in the last release, Chrome 83 will surface tips on how to use gesture navigation. Meanwhile, nav buttons can be restored through the Accessibility menu.

In Settings, the Device > Power menu houses “When idle” options. You can now customize “while charging” and “while on battery” to: Sleep, Turn off display, or Keep display on.


On the lockscreen, you can now take a peek at what you entered in the password field by tapping the ‘eye’ icon at the right.

Google Assistant can now control playing media with commands to pause, resume, next, and stop.

Other browser features in this release include the wider availability of Tab Groups, while there’s a big focus on security and privacy. This includes redesigned settings, Safety check, blocking third-party cookies by default in Incognito, and Enhanced Safe Browsing. These features are rolling out over the coming weeks.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: