Let’s go ahead and file this one in the cool-but-could-be-a-bug category. After all, I am in the Beta Channel of Chrome OS right now. Over the weekend while writing an article, a strange occurrence happened. I needed to snag a screenshot for an article, and as I went to hit the screenshot button (the newer Chromebook replacement for the CTRL + Overview button combo) a new animation hit my screen that looked new and, at the same time, looked very familiar. If you recall, the current – and quite awesome – screenshot tool on Chrome OS is full of useful tools, but lacks on any animation to tell users the screenshot was captured. Below is the current animation when you take a screenshot:
What I saw this weekend was quite a bit different, however. With any Android app open on the screen, the screenshot animation completely changes. The first time I saw it, I simply thought a new look was on the way for the already-excellent screenshot tool. But the second I minimized the Android app, this new animation and sound went away and we were back to the standard screenshot we’re used to on Chrome OS. Check it out below:
While this look was new and different to begin with, I couldn’t shake the fact that it felt familiar. From the animation to the sound that accompanied it, I quickly realized this was an exact replica of what you get on Android phones when you take a screenshot. What was most confusing, however, was the fact that it only happened when an Android app was open on screen. The second you minimize – not close – the Android app, the screenshot animation goes away.
Being curious, I obviously began testing this morning at the office with multiple devices in the Stable channel that have Android 9 and Android 11. We even moved those devices over to Beta and still, none of them exhibited this odd behavior, leading me to believe that this may be a bug. But the other possibility that this is a new feature being worked on right now is still very plausible as well. Many new, experimental features get activated on only a select few devices for testing and this could very well be one of those things. From what we can tell, the Android screenshot animation bleeding over into Chrome OS doesn’t occur on other devices, so it feels a bit like an intentional addition.
For now, we’re left guessing whether or not this feature change will actually happen or not. It is worth noting right now that the device I’m testing on has the hardwired screenshot key and the other devices I’m testing on do not. Perhaps that is the reason we’re seeing this behavior. It is also worth noting that the animation isn’t completely baked in and you still get the leftover Chrome OS screenshot tool after the Android animation has fired (as seen in the video above).
Oh, and these Android-driven screenshots even go into a different folder in your Android files on the Chromebook. It’s all very, very strange and if it is a bug, it needs to be corrected before it hits other devices in Chrome OS 91. If not cleaned up properly, this could be extremely confusing to new and veteran users alike. If it is a new feature in the works, the Chrome OS team definitely needs to keep the existing screenshot flow in place and simply add this animation to the full-screen or partial-screen captures. It would be an awesome addition to the already-fantastic screenshot tool, but I’m also on the fence about whether or not this is some strange bug. I’m unsure how this part of Android could just magically escape the ARC container, but who knows? Either way, we’re keeping an eye on it and will update when we find what is going on here.