One of the more impressive parts of Chrome OS is the ability for users to hit the search key on their Chromebook keyboard and quickly search all sorts of info from anywhere in the OS. From Google Drive files to local files to apps to the entirety of the web, the quick search functionality of Chrome OS leverages the best of Google’s expertise in search at the touch of a button. While I may not use the Google Assistant on my Chromebook that often, I use the search key on a daily basis.
While I can open up just about any application or search anything on the web with this tool, I’ve been a bit perplexed why I can’t search basic settings with it as well. There are certain things I’d love quick access to like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen resolution, passwords and more. Sure, there are fairly simple ways to get to all this, but a quick search would feel like the best way to do it.
Thankfully, it looks like this feature is just around the corner. The flag for it already exists in the latest Stable Channel update for Chrome OS 84 and works as expected in Chrome OS 85 in the Beta Channel.
Once the flag is turned on (chrome://flags/#launcher-settings-search) you can search for just about any setting you can think of and get straight to it from the search bar. It’s a powerful tool that will go a long way towards helping veteran users get things done quicker and new users find settings they aren’t sure where to look for. Frankly, this is one of the basic features I really love about iOS and iPad OS, especially for those who are a bit less tech-savvy. Just this weekend I was helping my dad with his phone and he didn’t realize he could simply swipe downward on the home screen to access Apple’s spotlight search to find what he needed.
Settings menus can get a bit crowded, messy and convoluted. Of all the things I want a system-wide search to do, helping to navigate right where I need to be in the ever-deepening settings menu is most definitely a top priority. I’m glad to see Google getting this in place in Chrome OS 85 and I’m hoping the pesky need to flip the switch on an experimental flag will be gone when it arrives, too.