Chrome OS is now officially a decade old, and to mark the 10th birthday, it is getting a bunch of new features. The most useful one of them, in my opinion, is the Phone Hub. As the name makes it abundantly clear, Phone Hub is a one-stop dashboard for your phone that serves as a remote control panel on your Chromebook.
Accessible from the shelf, you’ll now see a dedicated phone icon at the bottom that you can tap to open the Phone Hub. On this widget, you can access controls such as enabling your phone’s hotspot, putting it on the silent profile, and locate it. At the top, you’ll also find the battery percentage of your phone and network reception too, alongside the name you’ve picked for your phone while setting it up.
More importantly, the Phone Hub will allow you to respond to messages you’ve received on your phone from your Chrome OS machine itself. Additionally, you will also see cards for the last few Chrome tabs that you accessed on your phone. This is a neat continuity feature, that will let you access some important webpages on your Chromebook without going through any copy-paste or sharing process on your phone.
Additionally, Chrome OS has also landed support for the Wi-Fi sync feature. What this essentially means is if you’ve connected to a trusted Wi-Fi network on your Android phone, your Chromebook will automatically latch on to it without having to go through the password prompt stage that requires you to manually enter the password.
Nearby Sharing finally brings an AirDrop rival to Chromebooks
Google is also extending Nearby Sharing to Chromebooks. This will allow users to share files from their Chromebook with another Chrome OS machine or Android phone with ease. With the arrival of Nearby Share on Chromebooks, Google is finally giving Chrome OS a full-fledged AirDrop competitor that will only get better with the release of Android 12 and subsequent Chrome OS updates.