Chrome OS update automatically fetches photos from Android to your Chromebook

Google announced Chrome 103 on Thursday, making it easier to share photos from Android to Chromebook. The company also said an update that will simplify Bluetooth connections is on the way.

As detailed in a blog post by Alexander Kocher, director of Chrome OS Software at Google, the update is based on the Phone Hub app that was released to Chrome OS last year. It works with smartphones running Android 5.1 and above and lets you view the phone’s text messages, battery life, and bring tabs from the Chrome mobile browser to the Chromebook browser.

In Chrome 103, photos you take on your Android phone will automatically appear in the Phone Hub under the new “Recent Photos” section.

Chrome OS Phone Hub app displays recent photos of your Android phone.

Chrome OS Phone Hub app displays recent photos of your Android phone.

You can then download the photos to save them on your Chromebook so you can edit them, email them, or do whatever else you’d rather do on a computer than on your phone.

Google is also updating Nearby Sharing in Chrome 103. Nearby Sharing uses Bluetooth Low Energy, WebRTC, or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi to share files over the air between Chromebooks and Android phones. Chrome 103 gives you the ability to connect your Chromebook to a saved Wi-Fi network. The next time a new Chromebook connects to your network, you won’t have to find a Wi-Fi password to set it up if your Android phone is already connected.

The process described by Kocher seems simple enough. On an Android phone, just go to your Wi-Fi network, tap Share, and tap the Nearby box below the QR code. Then, you’ll be able to see your Chromebook and can connect it to Wi-Fi, the blog said.

Connect your Chromebook to Wi-Fi without using a password.

Connect your Chromebook to Wi-Fi without using a password.

“Near Sharing will provide your Wi-Fi credentials (as in the network name and password), and your Chromebook will automatically connect to your Wi-Fi network. Of course, it will also save for the next time your Chromebook needs to use that Wi-Fi,” he explained. Kosher.

Kuscher also said Chrome 103 will get the Fast Pair Bluetooth update “later this summer.” The feature should allow you to connect Bluetooth devices, like headphones, without having to know which button to press on the product or doing anything in your Chromebook’s settings other than turning on Bluetooth.

“Just turn on Bluetooth for your Chromebook, and it will automatically detect when a new pair of Bluetooth headphones is on, close, and ready to go. A notification will pop up, and with one click, your new accessory is connected and ready to go.” “No more searching in settings or struggling to figure out the right button to press to pair the headphones.”

This feature may differ from similar technologies like Windows Swift Pair, which displays a popup on your computer when it senses a Bluetooth device, but only if the wireless device is in its pairing mode.

Kuscher said the feature will work with “hundreds of different headphone models,” including, not surprisingly, the Google Pixel Buds. Kuscher did not specify which models of Pixels Buds will support the feature but did share an image of the $99 Pixel Buds A series that came out in June 2021.

Google hasn't said if the older Pixel Buds will work with the upcoming features.

Google hasn’t said if the older Pixel Buds will work with the upcoming features.

Finally, the Screencast video-editing app for Chrome OS that Google announced a few weeks ago will begin rolling out this week, Kocher said.

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