As it is right now, Chromebooks and screenshots are a pretty simple pair. Hitting CTRL + OVERVIEW will snag a full-screen grab and CTRL+SHIFT+OVERVIEW will allow the user to select a portion of the screen to capture. There’s no UI, no real guidance, and little that can natively be done to the image once captured. Chrome OS also doesn’t possess a simple, straightforward method of recording action on the screen in a video format, either. Sure, there are fantastic web apps like Loom that can do this for you via an extension, but having the ability to pull off screen recording as a system-level operation would be very, very nice in tons of situations.
According to some code changes happening in the Chromium Repositories that I came across last week (Chrome Story posted recently about the video portion), a whole new way of getting screenshots and screen recordings is on the way for Chrome OS in a future update. The entire effort is being worked on under the name ‘capture_mode’ and you can see all the code changes being committed over at the Chromium Gerrit if you are so inclined.
In a nutshell, from what we can tell at this point from all these changes, this new screenshot/recording UI will bring over what we have in the existing screenshot interface and but will likely add quite a bit to the experience as well. If you’ve ever taken a screenshot on an Android or iPhone device, you are likely familiar with some of these niceties. Right now on Chromebooks, the screenshot function simply pops the captured frame into you downloads folder and gives you a quick notifications that it did so. That’s basically it.
The new UI will include things like a new Capture Bar that will have the ability to change what is being captured and recorded, dedicated buttons to decide whether you want a screenshot or a recording, the ability to add the recently-captured media right to the clipboard for quick sharing, and quick settings pod that should end up living in the system tray for quick access. From one of the commit files, we can see a very rough idea of what this Capture Bar will sort of look like when launched. It is unclear if this will be a floating control widget, something in the notifications tray, or pinned to the top of your display while recording.
The flow seems simple enough, however, and should end up giving users a clearer, easier way to capture content on their screen. My guess is we’ll see a new button in the quick settings right there with things like your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi toggles that will allow a recording session to begin. From there, you’ll be able to select if you want to record the screen or simply grab a screenshot and, when you are done, have a captured piece of media that can instantly be dropped into the app of your choosing. It is unclear exactly what the workflow will be post-capture at this point, but we’ll be keeping an eye on this as it develops. Don’t expect this overhaul to show up soon, though. My money would be on Chrome OS 87 or 88 at this point.