Chrome OS 88 is officially available to all users, and with this update came a set of useful new features such as tab search and the all-new Chromebook screensaver. While there are plenty of shiny new gems to play with, there are some hidden features in Chrome OS 88 that you can activate with very little effort and enjoy and add to the Chromebook toolbox. We have covered each of these features at some point as they moved up from the Kanari channel, but now you can activate each of them in the stable channel with just one switch. Robby put together a quick video to highlight these hidden features and show you how to enable them now in Chrome OS 88. Check it out.
Warnings apply here. To access these new features, you need to enable “experimental” flags on your Chrome OS device. You can do that by going to
chrome://flags on your Chromebook or Chromebox. Remember that these are experimental, and as you may notice on the flag page, it comes with a warning. These flags in particular have been tested by our team on several occasions, and we use some of them regularly. They are very stable and seem to work as the developers intended. That said, you may experience a hiccup here or there. If you find that one of these flags is unstable, you can simply go back to the Chrome flag page and select “reset all” to reset everything to the default. When enabling or disabling a flag, be sure to save all work that you have opened, as Chrome will prompt you to restart your browser and all that you have open will be lost. Clear? Okay, keep going.
Printing has come a long way on Chrome OS in recent years, but Google has recognized the need for more built-in features for all-in-one devices. The ability to scan from a Chromebook once required installing an Android app or going to the printer’s IP address, and even then the results were hit or miss. With the new scanning user interface, network-connected printers that work with Chromebooks and can scan, now appear as an option for scanning documents. I’ve tried this on a handful of HP printers as well as an Epson, and it works really well. There is still some work to be done before users can save in a PDF, but for now you can still save your scans as an image file. The scan utility even recognizes the available options for your specific printer, such as DPI options, and whether you have a flatbed, feeder, or both. Go to to turn on the new scan tool
chrome://flags and search for “scan UI.” Alternatively, you can just point your browser towards
chrome://flags/#scanning-ui and then restart Chrome. Your scan tool now appears in the app launcher and system settings menu.
When “read later” or the read list feature first appeared, we were really not sure what would set it apart from the traditional bookmarks we see in the Chrome browser. However, this handy little add-on is very useful for adding content to a saved space to be consumed later without cluttering up Chrome’s bookmarks bar. With this flag enabled, you can click the bookmark icon in Omnibox or go to the bookmarks tab in Chrome settings, and now you have the option to create a bookmark or add to your reading list. Once added to the reading list, it is a quick way to return to saved web pages and quickly mark them as read, or simply delete them to remove them from the list. To enable, go to the Chrome flag page and search for “reading list” or point your browser towards
chrome://flags/read-later. Restart your browser and you now have a nice little folder on the far right of the bookmarks bar.
Screen Capture Test
We’ve been tracking the new Chrome OS screen capture and recording tool for several months, but Google has finally made an official announcement about the feature. In an effort to better equip teachers and students, the screensaver tool will start rolling out again with the next major update to Chrome OS scheduled for early March. The new screen capture tool adds lots of new functionality to the built-in screen feature that we are all familiar with in Chrome OS. When enabled, the traditional Ctrl + F4 (overview key) will still take a full screenshot, but pressing the partial screen key will give you a whole new set of tools.
You can now move your screen and resize it to get exactly what you want in the image instead of having to crop the image on the back. More importantly, the new tool provides the ability to take screenshots of the entire screen, select windows and even take partial shots of a specific part of the screen. If you go to the Chrome flag page and search for “screen capture”, you will see the flag. You can also point your browser towards
chrome://flags/#screen-capture and it will be right at the top front and center for you to activate. Activate that flag, restart Chrome, and now the new screen capture tool is ready on command.
These hidden tools in Chrome OS 88 are exceptional features to enhance your workflow, and I highly recommend trying them if you need such tools on a regular basis. It’s going to be a little over a month before we see Chrome OS 89 hit the stable channel, but we’re expecting a wagon with new features, and I’m sure we’ll find some more hidden features that you might be interested in trying out. Watch.