Right on time, ChromeOS 119 is now available and rolling out to most eligible Chromebooks. From what we can tell from cros.tech, there are some 10th-gen Chromeboxes and Chromebases that are still on 118, but most of the current, well-known Chromebooks out there are all getting the update as of this morning. As soon as I arrived at the office and checked for my update, it immediately installed. Just head to Settings > About ChromeOS > Check for updates to get your rolling.
Chrome browser Material You makeover
The big change with this update is front and center the moment you open a new browser window. Chrome’s new Material You overhaul is here in full effect. It’s been making its way down the development channels and has been hidden behind flags for a few months at this point, but with ChromeOS 119, no additional steps or setup is needed to enjoy the new look of the Chrome browser.
The biggest changes you’ll notice are the tweaks to the tab strip, bookmarks bar, and menus. The new tab search button is now on the top-left corner for those of you who love to have dozens and dozens of tabs open at any given time, and the entire tab strip is tighter with less-defined dividers between your tabs. It looks great without being jarring.
Menus like the main 3-dot, plugins, and side panel all get a tighter look as well with updated fonts and styling that generally aligns better with what Google is across the entire ecosystem of apps and services these days. From sub menus to your bookmarks bar, you’ll feel the subtle change the first time you see it.
You’ll also notice changes in the bookmark folders, the main settings page, and other iconography throughout the UI. Again, these changes are subtle, but noticeable, and I think in a few weeks from now, we’ll all be able to spot pre-119 Chrome screenshots with ease. It all feels tightly integrated and I really like how everything looks in my Chrome browser with this update.
Other, hidden features?
Poking around for a few minutes, however, I’m not seeing much else changed. ChromeOS 118 was a big move that didn’t roll out very well, so I’m not surprised to see 119 showing up with some quiet, straightforward improvements. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t small tweaks to be found here and there: it’ll just take some time.
There are likely a few things hiding that we’ll uncover soon, but until we do, I’m simply hoping this update goes smoothly, that new Chromebook owners that come on board through the holidays have great first experiences with their new devices, and that perhaps an incremental update early in December may get us some of the promised AI additions for Chromebook Plus devices.
Right now, ChromeOS 120 is tracking for January 4th, so if those generative AI tricks don’t arrive until then, we’ll clearly have missed the “end of the year” window. I’m hopeful Google can deliver a few things mid-December for all those getting a new Chromebook Plus as a gift; it would be a really cool first impression for a lot of new users for certain if their early interactions include some fun, new on-device AI tricks.