Google on Thursday announced Chrome 103, making it easier to share photos from Android to your Chromebook. The company also said that an update that will ease Bluetooth connections is underway.
As detailed in a blog post by Alexander Kusher, director of Chrome OS software at Google, the update is based on the Phone Hub app released for Chrome OS last year. It works with smartphones running Android 5.1 and later and lets you view the phone’s text messages and battery life, and bring up tabs on your Chromebook’s browser from your mobile Chrome browser.
In Chrome 103, photos you take on your Android phone will automatically appear in the Phone Hub under a new “Recent Photos” section.
You can then download the images to save them to your Chromebook so you can edit them, email them, or do anything else you prefer to do on a computer instead of on a phone.
Google is also updating its Nearby Share feature to Chrome 103. Nearby Share uses Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to share files over the air between a Chromebook and an Android phone. Chrome 103 gives you the ability to connect your Chromebook to a saved Wi-Fi network. The next time a new Chromebook connects to your network, you won’t need to find your Wi-Fi password to set it up if your Android phone is already connected.
The process described by Kuscher seems simple enough. On an Android phone, you simply go to the Wi-Fi network, hit Share, then tap the “Nearby” tile under QR Codes. Afterwards, you’ll be able to view the Chromebook and connect it to a Wi-Fi network, the blog said.
“Nearby Share will deliver Wi-Fi credentials (in the form of a network name and password), and the Chromebook will automatically connect to Wi-Fi. And, of course, it will do so the next time you need to use the Chromebook.” Will save that Wi-Fi network,” Kusher explained.
Kushner also said that the Chrome 103 will receive a Fast Pair Bluetooth update “later this summer.” This feature allows you to connect Bluetooth devices other than turning Bluetooth on, without having to figure out which button to press on the product or do anything in Chromebook settings.
“Simply turn on your Chromebook’s Bluetooth, and it will automatically detect when a new pair of Bluetooth headphones is on, nearby, and ready to be set up. A pop-up notification will appear, and one tap With that done, your new accessory is attached and ready to go,” Kusher wrote. “No more digging through settings or struggling to figure out the right buttons to press to pair your headphones.”
This feature will differ from similar technologies such as Windows Swift Pair, which presents a pop-up on the PC when it senses a Bluetooth device, but only when the wireless device is in its pairing mode.
Kusher said the feature will work with “hundreds of different headphone models,” which not surprisingly includes Google’s Pixel Buds. Kushner didn’t specify which models of Pixel Buds would support the feature, but did share an image of the $99 Pixel Buds A-series revealed in June 2021.
Finally, the Screencast video editing app for Chrome OS that Google announced a few weeks ago will be rolling out this week, Kusher said.