I’ve been checking over the last few days over at cros.tech to see if the latest version of ChromeOS was rolling out to anyone just yet. It was slated to arrive earlier in the week, but as these things tend to go, it seems there was a small delay. Even right now as my Lenovo Chromebook Slim 3i sits on ChromeOS 117, the Omaha server that cros.tech pulls from has yet to update. Regardless, my update notification just came in an I’m now on ChromeOS 117, and a few surface-level things are along for the ride.
Material You for ChromeOS is here
Finally! We’ve been talking about the Material You makeover for ChromeOS for a very long time, and it is finally here: no flags, no settings, so setup required. Though I’ve personally been switching on all the flags for months at this point to get this sweet, new, updated look, I’m beyond excited for this visual overhaul to be on all Chromebooks all the time for all users now.
And it is worth noting that the new look carries into all the system apps, too, and that is a very good thing. Turning on the flags for Material You prior to this update meant flipping on the ‘Jelly’ settings for all sorts of things: from the calendar, settings, files app, diagnostics, and others. Thankfully, the ChromeOS 117 update brings all of those portions of the OS into line with beautiful, color-coordinated Material You throughout. Just set your wallpaper and – like you see on Android – choose the color pallet you prefer and you’ll have a fresh, new look with each background change.
Additionally, this visual upgrade means the split notifications are here, too. Of all the visual issues with ChromeOS over the years, the stacked notifications have been particularly ugly and unsuseful. Putting them in their own spot in the tray (the way they were way back when) makes so much more sense and is a part of the general Material You redesign that I’ve been truly enjoying over the past few month.
Use shared Google Photo albums for wallpapers
Speaking of wallpapers, the wallpaper picker now not only allows for you to use your own Google Photos for backgrounds, but images from shared albums as well. That means if you find a great album online of photos that make great wallpapers and you add that album to your Google Photos, it will show up in the Google Photos section of the wallpaper picker for use. It sounds small, but this greatly enhances the way you can curate and choose wallpapers for your Chromebook moving forward.
Join Google Meet calls from the ChromeOS shelf
You can also now join meetings directly from the calendar widget in the ChromeOS shelf. Simply click on the day, find the event that is linked to the Meet you need to be in, and click the Join button that now appears in that event’s space. Clicking that button takes you directly to the call in a new window without any need of digging into Google Calendar in an app or on the web. It’s super handy! Now, if my calendar widget would just show my other, integrated calendars from my other signed-in accounts, we’d be all set!
Like all ChromeOS updates, I’m certain there are other fun details hiding here and there, so I’m off to look around a bit and see what else came through with this latest update. But even if this is all there is for this particular 4-week update, I’m very happy to finally see Material You on Chromebooks from this point forward. Everything else is just icing on the cake for this one!