Chromebooks are getting a better search box powered by Google Assistant

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Google has released a new version of the Chrome OS operating system, which introduces an improved search experience for Chromebooks that benefits from integration with Google Assistant.

Chrome OS 74 brings various new features, but the highlight, without doubt, is this boost for the search feature, which previously was a more basic affair that simply allowed searching for apps or files on the device, or to run a web query, with auto-suggestions popping up as you type.

Now, your most recently used apps and recent web searches are highlighted, and Google Assistant is fully integrated into the search box, meaning that if you’re wanting to know about today’s weather, for example, the virtual assistant will present the relevant info there and then within the search interface. Other more general queries will be redirected to the browser.

Linux apps can now be heard

Other improvements for this version of Chrome OS include fixing the operating system so Linux applications can now successfully output audio, and the ability to annotate documents in the Chrome PDF Viewer.

Google’s Camera app gets the benefit of support for USB cameras, so it’ll now function with your third-party external webcam, and as ever, the fresh build also contains a host of bug fixes and security patches.

In a post announcing the release of Chrome OS 74, Google said that Chromebooks should be receiving the new version over the next ‘several days’, so hopefully we won’t have to wait long for the update.

We just tried to grab v74 on our machine, though, and it’s not available just yet, at least for us. Your mileage may of course vary.

Other exciting features we might have to look forward to arriving on Chromebooks include the potential addition of virtual desktops to Chrome OS.

Via 9 to 5 Google

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).