Google is celebrating 10 years of Chromebooks with some handy new features

Chromebook features update
(Image credit: Google)

Chromebooks hit the shelves a decade ago, quickly becoming some of the best professional and education devices available on the market. And, to celebrate its birthday, Google is releasing a bunch of shiny new features for improved quality of life, with the promise of more to come.

One of the smaller updates is a refresh for the icons of built-in applications, such as Canvas and Explore. Select-to-speak (Google's built-in screen reader) is also getting some new controls that will allow the user to slow down, speed up and pause the reading voice in real time.

Happy Birthday Chrome OS

A new feature called 'Phone Hub' is also being introduced to Chromebooks that will create a built-in control center for your Android phone and allow you to remotely access key capabilities such as responding to messages and checking battery life when your mobile is out of reach. You'll also be able to open tabs on your Chromebook that you last opened on the phone, as well as locate the mobile device if it goes missing.

We're also going to see a similar service to Airdrop called 'Nearby Share' that will enable users to instantly share files between Chrome OS and Android devices, and an extended WiFi Sync to automatically connect your Chromebook to trusted networks that you've already accessed via your Android devices such as tablets or phones, that prevents frustratingly having to re-enter password information.

Chromebook features

(Image credit: Google)

The clipboard will now allow you to save up to five copied items and prevent the need to keep tabbing to different pages when you have a lot of copy/paste work to do. You'll be able to access this feature by pressing your Launcher Key. Finally, we're getting Quick Answers, a feature that will automatically suggest helpful information when you right-click a word — like a definition, a translation or unit conversion.

A lot of people have migrated from Macbooks or Windows laptops over to using Chromebooks and it isn't hard to see why. What they lack in raw power, they make up in innovative systems that make tasks feel effortless and usually with a much lower price tag than beefier devices. 

You can check out more about these new features over on the 'what's new' section of Google's website.

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is a former TechRadar Computing writer, where she covered all aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed as an industry expert for the BBC, and while her educational background was in prosthetics and model-making, her true love is in tech and she has built numerous desktop computers over the last 10 years for gaming and content creation. Jess is now a journalist at The Verge.