If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, Chrome OS is rapidly becoming one of the most well-rounded operations systems on the market. The recent announcement making Steam on Chrome OS official could very well bring Chromebooks to the forefront of casual gaming. Still, at its core, Chrome OS is still focused on speed, security, and productivity. This is apparent when you take a look at Google’s ongoing work to add new and updated productivity tools and features to Chrome OS.
Such features include the ever-evolving Virtual Desks that will soon allow you to save Desk templates and even set custom wallpapers for each desktop. Other productivity tools include deeper integration between Chrome OS and your Android device, enhanced speech dictation, the Projector app, and the list goes on. It is clear that Google has its sights set on the enterprise sector and the on-the-go business types and this week, I’ve unearthed another upcoming feature that will assist users and admins in testing internal and external hardware on Chrome OS.
New Diagnostic App Cards
In its current state, the Chrome OS Diagnostic App gives you a snapshot of your device’s CPU usage, RAM, battery health, and connectivity. However, Google has been working on some additions that will allow you to see the status of your internal and external input devices. Those features have recently received a boost with the addition of some new flags that will allow you to see and test your touchpad, touchscreen, and attached keyboards.
Currently, the flags are in the early stages but in the image below, you can see all of the external and internal devices that are recognized by my Chromebook. You can see the built-in input devices listed as internal and all of the Logitech devices I currently have paired with my Logitech Unified Receiver.
While seeing your connected devices is pretty cool, the really awesome feature here is the ability to test said input devices. This ability is only working for the internal keyboard at the moment but you can see in the video below exactly how the test feature works. When you press the “Test” button, a virtual keyboard pops up and you can see your subsequent keypresses on the screen. Presumably, the touchpad and touchscreen option will offer up a similar UI that should show touch inputs in relation to the device being tested.
The use case for this new tool is probably relatively narrow but it’s nice to see Google adding useful functionality to the Diagnostic App as time goes on. This will be useful when testing a new input device or diagnosing issues with existing hardware. We’ll keep an eye on this as I’m sure it will continue to evolve as more manufacturers produce Works with Chromebook accessories.