Chrome OS 85 rolling out: Wi-Fi Sync, smarter settings search, quick microphone slider

After rolling out last Tuesday to Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android, Chrome OS 85 will soon be available over the coming weeks. There are a number of usability improvements in this release.

With Wi-Fi Sync, network credentials entered when you’re sign-in to a personal Google Account will be saved to your profile’s keychain and automatically be filled in on other Chromebooks. When viewing network details, Google will note if a connection has been “Synced with other devices on your account.”

Meanwhile, Google has updated search in Chrome OS settings. It starts with an improved design and more intelligent search model that’s better at finding approximate matches:

When you type in a query, like “wifi,” your Chromebook will display results for matching settings and related suggestions, even if you used different terms in your query.

Moving forward, you’ll be able to search settings from the Launcher/search key that already lets you look up web results and apps.

This is a big step in helping the Launcher work like an “everything button”—our vision is to create one place for you to access Google Search, your Drive, Settings, apps, local files and more.

Display Settings will now let you independently configure the resolution and refresh rate of external monitors.

In Quick Settings, Chrome OS 85 introduces a new microphone slider to control how soft or loud you sound on calls. It’s available in the menu above brightness.

The Chrome OS Camera app can pause and resume video recording, as well as take live snapshots.

The handwriting keyboard now supports two gestures to make the experience more natural. A strike-through will delete what was just written, while a caret (^) creates space to insert text.

Google has improved the print management UI to let users view in-progress jobs (with the option to cancel) and view a history of completed jobs. Similarly, PIN printing is now supported on HP, Ricoh, and Sharp units.

Chrome’s desktop tab strip is getting optimized for touch, starting on Chromebooks. A square icon with the number of open tabs — just like on Android — shows/hides a swipeable carousel of your open pages. Each card includes the page name, preview, and close button.

Users will now be able to collapse and expand Tab Groups by tapping the assigned name. This saves space in the tab strip and helps prioritize what you’re currently working on. This “popular feature request” is rolling out now.

The address bar features a new 2×2 grid icon with corners that opens a pop-up menu and generates a dino-themed QR code. It can scan on your phone for quick cross-device switching, or downloaded for broader sharing.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

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