Chrome OS 41 has hit the beta channel with some minor visual changes and a bevy of behind the scenes tweaks.

Aside from the usual bug fixes and security updates that every release offers, Google highlight two key changes in this beta channel update:

  • New Guest Session wallpaper (see above)
  • Support for Bluetooth headsets for phone calls, gaming, etc.

The addition of Bluetooth headsets is an important one given the increasing variety of Chrome-supported VoIP and video chat services, Facebook Video Chat being among the latest. 

Other notable changes arriving in Chrome OS Beta 41.0.2272.32 include:

  • Material Design New Tab Page is now enabled by default
  • no longer shows image files whose filename begin with ‘.’
  • Tweaks to wording and icon assets of Smart Lock
  • File System Provider API Tweaks
  • Keyboard navigation in Experimental App List
  • App List voice search now prioritises web results

The latter change in voice search behaviour is pretty striking. In Stable Channel builds voice searches are matched against local apps. That goes with this change; the first result of a voice search is now always a web search, not a matching local app.

Updating Chrome OS Beta Channel

Google say that this specific release is rolling out to all Chrome devices except the HP Chromebook 14 (the exact generation omitted isn’t listed).

Don’t panic if you’re on the beta channel on that model: you will receive all of these changes (along with plenty more) in a subsequent update.

Chrome OS chrome os beta voice search