Chrome OS Update Brings Useful New Features

eSIM support gives new connectivity options

Key Takeaways

  • Chrome OS is getting a new update that brings better video calling and a host of other features.
  • Chromebooks will now support eSIM cards under the new release, meaning you won’t have to buy physical cards.
  • Google Meet is getting performance enhancements that the company says will result in faster video calling.
Chrome OS on an Acer laptop/chromebook

Google

Your Chromebook could soon get a lot more connected thanks to a new update from Google. 

Chrome OS 92 Stable offers eSim support and improved video calling, among a bunch of other cool features. Google Meet will be pre-installed on all Chromebooks, so it will be simple to start the app and jump on a video call right from the launcher.

I recently took a look at how the latest Chrome update offers a bunch of useful features that could help you get things done faster, as well as some fun extras. There’s new support for emojis, as well as the ability to do more with an external camera. You also get improved speech to text for composing long documents just with your voice.

Virtual Sim Cards 

Sim cards have become ubiquitous in recent decades, and Chromebooks will now support eSIM cards under the new release. The name, which stands for “electronic SIM card,” allows you to have all the features of a regular SIM card, including data and calling features from mobile carriers, without bothering with a physical card. Note that not all Chromebooks support this feature. 

The convenience factor is stunning. You no longer need to go into a store to buy carrier services when you use an eSIM card. That means you can easily switch carriers by simply downloading an eSIM via an app or a website.

Chrome OS on a Chromebook resting on a table

Google

With eSIM cards, you can also easily shop around for the best prices on mobile services. Several websites even compare rates for eSIM cards. 

Another handy feature of eSIM cards is you can use them alongside physical SIM cards, potentially having two carriers active in your device simultaneously. This is useful when you want to use one number for your personal line and another for work.

Electronic SIM cards are also great for travel. When you’re overseas and using your US mobile provider, carrier roaming fees can quickly add up. But with an eSIM card, you can easily add another line that offers more competitive rates for voice and data.

"All in all, the latest Chrome update seems like it’ll bring a solid slate of improvements."

For example, on a trip to Europe, I was stunned by the data roaming charges that quickly mounted when I was using Verizon as my carrier. Like most carriers, Verizon offers an international roaming plan that includes data. However, the data contained in the plan is throttled after a relatively meager amount is used, slowing web browsing and other internet functions to a crawl. I was able to purchase an eSIM card online easily and got much cheaper local data coverage than what Verizon offers.

Better Video Calls

Video calling is all the rage these days. There are more options than ever with Zoom, WhatsApp, and Microsoft Teams, among the many companies that allow you to connect over video with friends and family. 

As mentioned previously, Google is also stepping up its video calling game with the latest Chrome OS update. Google Meet is getting performance enhancements the company says will result in faster video calling, which includes adapting video calls to different network conditions and adjusting video performance during screen sharing. Meet is also getting new video backgrounds to spice up your next virtual conference call. 

Cat hanging its head over the laptop screen, looking at the woman on the screen

Lucy Lambriex / Getty Images

As usual, Google is throwing in some more minor upgrades with the latest Chrome release. For example, Android and Linux apps can now be assigned to a specific Virtual Desk, or all desks. 

There’s also an upgraded emoji picker. To launch the compact emoji picker, you use the new keyboard shortcut (Search or Launcher key+Shift+Space). The new features let you see recently used emojis and can search for others in text fields. 

If you have an external camera hooked up to your Chromebook, you’re in luck, too. The Chrome camera app now supports pan-tilt-zoom cameras.

My personal favorite new feature that I’m looking forward to trying is continuous speech-to-text in Dictation. The ability to speak rather than type is highly undersold, in my opinion, and this upgrade should be helpful for dictating long documents.

All in all, the latest Chrome update seems like it’ll bring a solid slate of improvements. I look forward to trying out the release and sharing my thoughts on it in the future.

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