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Chrome OS 35 Stable Adds ‘Ok Google’, App Folders to Launcher

Latest release also makes accessing public WiFi a touch easier

app list foldersGoogle has issued a new stable release of Chrome OS. Version 35, which hit beta last month, is rolling out to all Chromebook owners as of today. 

Chrome OS 35 Stable features a number of key improvements aimed at enhancing the user experience of Chromebooks, ‘boxes and ‘bases all over the world.

But which new features are the most notable? Let’s take a look.

App List Folders

Folder creation in the app launcher finally arrives to all, having spent several months being tested in dev and beta channels.

With folders you can group installed apps however you like — from a ‘Google folder’ for Docs, YouTube and Keep, to a ‘games’ directory housing Angry Birds, 2048, and similar.

To create a new folder:

  • Open the Apps List
  • Long press on an app icon to ‘pick it up’
  • Drag it over another icon until a dark circle appears
  • Let it go to create a folder containing both items

You can drag and drop more apps onto the folder icon to add them. Having created a folder you may next want to give it a name:

  • Click on the folder you want to rename to open it
  • Click the heading ‘untitled folder’ 
  • Enter a new name
  • Hit Enter/Return

To delete a folder you will need to drag out each item within it. When only one item is left the folder will automatically delete itself*.

Improved Window Controls

You may not have noticed, but a few releases back Google removed the ‘minimise’ window control. The theory was, since you can minimise by clicking on the app shelf icon an entry in the window frame was largely redundant. Well, seemingly not; based on user feedback the minimise button has returned.

Also new to this release is an improved way to ‘snap’ windows to the left and right ends of the screen. Long-press on the maximise button and drag towards the direction you would like the app window to resize to.

new-snap

Ok Google!

If you’re in the US (or using US English as your default language) you can play with ‘Ok Google’ hotword detection in the app launcher and on the Google.com new tab page.

When either of these is open simply say ‘Ok Google’ to trigger voice search.

In addition to providing web results from Google.com you can launch installed applications by speaking their name. Neat, right?

ok google chromeos

Captive Portal Detection

If you’re a frequent user of public Wi-Fi you’ll be familiar with ‘captive portals’ — additional steps to sign into Wi-Fi in cafes, hotels and so on. This update implements captive portal detection for a signed-in session, nixing the hoops you previously needed to jump through to get online.

Other Changes

In addition to a smattering of changes you can see are a legion more you can’t. Chrome OS 35 features a barrage of bug fixes and security updates.

Google Chrome OS 35 is rolling out to stable channel users on all devices except for the ASUS and Samsung Chromeboxes. Chrome automatically downloads and installs updates in the background, but you can force a check by going to ‘chrome://chrome’ in a new tab.

If you don’t see an update waiting don’t panic — these things take place in stages over a 24-48 hour period. 

 *The ‘Samsung’ and ‘Asus’ folders cannot be deleted this way on select models
  • Tim Lund

    Why not Asus and Samsung Chromeboxes? Maybe later? I would hope they would be kept up to date also.

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      Oh yes they will do, there will have just been a slight issue or pending bug for those specific devices, so it’s kept back (this commonly happens with the ARM-based builds).

    • http://banksyboy.blogspot.com banksyboy

      To clarify I think v35 is universal with just the version extension being slightly different. The latest stable release is reported as: 35.0.1916.116 whereas on my Samsung Chromebox it’s: 35.0.1916.69

      PB

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Now if only OK Google was available in more than two languages

  • moe

    its a nice update, now let works on notifications and settings and almost everything else in chrome being and coming from one place the bottom right which makes all look cluttered especially if you have several thing all at the same time, the list can get ridiculous.

  • Mike Richards

    “Ok Google” from app try not working for me. Is there a specific setting for this?

    • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      Is your language set to “US” english?

      • Mike Richards

        Yes

        • Basilio Gonzalez

          Same here… “Ok, Google” doesn’t seem to work in the App thingy for me…

    • BKarno

      I can’t seem to get it to work from the app launcher, but it is working when I open a new tab. Also noticed that you can now kill windows from the app switcher.

    • Richard

      You have to go into : chrome://flags/

      press: ctrl + F

      search for voice and enable the Voice Search in the App Launcher.

      Here is a tutorial I found: http://bit.ly/R9Z4IN

  • Wesley Files

    Nope. Drag to snap has been there a while. And drag to minimize and maximize. The minimize button is redundant.

    I’m just very glad they kept the drag features, because a flag version of these new controls took away drag features in Stable 34.

  • http://familyoffortune.com/ Caleb Lee

    I actually prefer the minimize button not being there, and being able to drag the resize button around to dock windows.

  • Juan Madrigal

    I dont think this stable version includes ok google hotword at the launcher.

    • http://oldsaltycrow.com/ Soi_SixShooter

      Yes it does. Well it works for me anyway.

    • Lou G

      I had to go into settings and click a checkbox.

      • juan

        Which check box?

        • Lou G

          It’s under advanced settings and then privacy.

  • ForSquirel

    Are these folders supposed to stay persistent? I’ve been looking forward to this for a while but of the three times I’ve shutdown I’ve lost all the folders. Everything reverts back to the old launcher..

    bummed

    • Jonathan

      Yeah it’s happening to me too, on my Samsung series 3. Is anybody experiencing this issue?

  • Tom King

    And yet in 35 updates, they still can’t provide Home, Print and Shorten (powered by Goo.gl) buttons on by default on the toolbar.

  • https://www.facebook.com/fauxjacob Jacob Schweitzer

    I’ve been waiting for this. Haven’t checked this site in a few days, the update icon appeared on my Chromebook yesterday afternoon, but I haven’t restarted it to install it. Obviously I will now, and I’m hoping the problem that a lot of people are having with folders not staying after shutdown and Google Now not working don’t affect me. *fingers crossed*

    • https://www.facebook.com/fauxjacob Jacob Schweitzer

      After installing, I created a few quick app folders and restarted, they are still there. However, I still am not able to use ‘Ok Google’.

      • https://www.facebook.com/fauxjacob Jacob Schweitzer

        So, I did have to go into chrome://flags and switch it on. It’s been working fine for two days now. If anyone is not seeing it show up, that is probably the problem. Instead of scrolling through all the flags, you can press Ctrl+f to bring up the search box and search for ‘voice’.

  • Benjamen Meiers

    Voice Search Hot Words don’t work for me. I have US simplified set as my language. I have also selected the checkbox that pops up when I made the switch. But I get the hollow mic. Maybe because I originally had Traditional English as my language?

    Seems to be happening to quite a few people though. Maybe it will get fixed when the lose the US English only bullcrap.