Just a few days ago, we published an article and video highlighting the big, bold changes that are coming to Chrome OS in version 70. With the Developer Channel update, we’ve received what could be seen as the biggest single update in terms of feature set that Chrome OS has ever seen.
You can check that article out over here and see the larger, more prominent features that have either been added or changed, but we fully expect to continue uncovering minute changes throughout the OS to accompany the more drastic ones.
Today, a couple we’ve come across (again, thanks to @michaelperrigo) are small but meaningful updates to Chrome OS: system-wide dictation and notification badges.
Dictation is Here
This feature is ready out of the box in Chrome os 70. As a matter of fact, you only need to head over to your system tray to get it up and running.
As you can see from this screenshot, all you need to do is open the tray and open your Accessibility settings. One click on Dictation and you are up and running. No flags or anything else needed.
It is made clear that your vocals are being sent to Google’s servers (just like with Google Assistant and Android’s dictation) for analysis, so if you are gun shy about that, you may want to hold off. Other than that, this works just like you’d expect. Click in a text box, hit that mic (conveniently on your shelf next to the system tray) and start talking.
The dictation is extremely accurate (no surprise there), but I have one current nag: the first letters of sentences are not getting capitalized. For quick texts and IMs, that’s no big deal. But, if I wanted to dictate an email or this article in full, I’d have to go back and capitalize every single first letter of every single sentence. It’s not worth that at this point.
If I’m allowed to dream just a bit, I’m looking forward to the day when we leverage Google’s AI to auto-punctuate dictated text based on standard speaking inflection. You or I can decently type punctuate sentences that others speak, so there has to be a way to train an algorithm to do the same, right?
This one is great news to some, bad news to others. It seems there is a bit of a divide when it comes to badges on apps. I personally don’t like it when they show numbers like on iOS. I do, however, like to know that an app has something for me to look at.
This implementation is just like Android and only works on Android apps at this point. I’d expect to see this brought over to PWA’s and pinned websites in Chrome OS at some point, too, but it isn’t a thing just yet.
In the event you are unfamiliar, here’s how it works. If you have a notification from a particular app, that you will not only see it in your notification area, you’ll also get a little badge on the app icon itself. A long-press or right-click of that app icon will now include any persistent notifications along with the normal shortcuts. You can see this in the pic below.
Again, this isn’t an earth-shattering feature, but it is one of those things that – if you like badges – makes a pretty big difference in your general use of any device.
Want to try it? This one takes a quick step, but it’s nothing to get worried about. Simply type this into your Chrome Omnibar: chrome://flags/#enable-notification-indicator
Select enable, restart Chrome, and you’ll now have notification badges on your Android apps. This should be implied, but you’ll need to be in the Developer Channel at this point to take advantage of these features.
We fully expect to keep finding new, fun features in this change-packed Chrome OS 70 update, so be sure to come by often and/or subscribe to get email updates down there in the footer!