ChromeOS 107 is rolling out to users around the world. Although this landmark release was a bit late, the latest version was released much closer to schedule than 106, which was over two weeks late. The recent version of Chrome for desktop computers was relatively feature-limited, but the OS version of Chrome actually arrived with a shopping cart full of new and improved tricks that you’ll probably be interested in trying. So, let’s look at what’s new in ChromeOS 107.
In addition to ChromeOS’ ever-expanding productivity toolkit, ChromeOS 107 brings Auto-Framing to the platform. For devices that support it, enabling auto-framing while using the camera will automatically zoom in on your face to keep you in the center of the frame. If your device supports auto-framing, you should see a toast notification the first time you open your camera after updating to 107. You can find the toggle for auto-framing in the quick settings menu of your Chromebook, as shown in the image below. Note: If the camera or a camera-compatible app is not open, the setting will disappear.
Lock the lid without sleep
For users who may need to lock their devices while they’re away but need to keep services running, administrators can now configure ChromeOS devices to lock the screen when the lid is closed without putting the device in standby. An example of how this could be useful is if you had an active SSH session running and you didn’t want it to time out when you closed the lid or your device.
Filter recent files
To make things a little easier when searching in the Files app, the “Recents” tab now gives you categories. You can now filter between Audio, Documents, Pictures and Videos in the Recents tab with just one click.
Virtual desktops have quickly become one of the most widely adopted productivity tools to land in ChromeOS in recent years. Even now, Google is trying to increase the maximum number of virtual desktops from eight to sixteen. Managing all of these spaces can get a bit cumbersome. So Google has added a handy feature that will allow you to merge a desktop with the desktop next to it with just one click. When viewing your desktops in preview mode in ChromeOS 107, you will now see an icon to the left of the “X” used to close a desktop. This merge icon will allow you to move the contents of this desktop to the desktop immediately to the left and remove this desktop from your alignment.
We’ve been looking forward to this feature for months. In addition to merging desktops, users can now save their desktops for later. When you save a desktop, all open tabs in that desktop will be saved and you can reopen them, well, later. To save a desktop, simply switch to preview mode and you’ll see the “Save desktop for later” notification above your active apps. Click on it and your desktop will be saved. Then you will see the saved desktop in your preview screen where you can click on it to reopen all your apps/tabs in a new desktop.
Physical keyboard with diacritics
This one’s still behind a flag, but it’s a nice bonus feature in ChromeOS 107. The flag activates a library of diacritics and variant characters that can be accessed via long keys on the physical keyboard. This includes letters with special accents that may be used in languages other than English and other characters not found on a standard keyboard. To enable the diacritical keyboard, simply point your browser to chrome://flags#enable-cros-diacritics-on-physical-keyboard-longpress, enable the flag, and restart your browser. Once enabled, you will see a popup with the characters available when you long press a key in a text box.
That’s about it for ChromeOS 107 at first glance, but I’ll keep digging to see what else might be hiding under the hood. We have another milestone update for 2022 which should arrive on December 1st. To check ChromeOS 107, access the settings menu through the system tray in the lower right. Click the gear icon and find the About ChromeOS tab. Click on the tab and mash that “Check for updates” button.