Google has rolled out a Chrome OS update that makes its Everything Button search box a lot more like Apple's Spotlight, plus there's a new Diagnostics app that should make for easier troubleshooting on Chromebooks.
The update in Chrome OS version 90 strengthens the Launcher on Chromebooks with the ability to answer more questions: the Launcher has until now allowed users to search apps, local files, and Google. As of the latest update, the Launcher will also answer maths questions and tell users the local weather. This makes it more like Spotlight search on iOS and macOS.
The new Launcher capabilities mean that Chromebook users don't need to open a new browser tab to find these answers. They just need to tap the Everything Button – where keyboards conventionally have the Caps Lock key.
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Google is also making it easier to discover the source of hardware problems with a new Diagnostics app. Some Reddit users have been testing the diagnostics app since January.
The Diagnostics app is available on all Chromebooks and can be used to check the status of the laptop's battery, CPU and memory. The app also provides links to relevant support pages and the test results can be saved for sharing with a customer support representative.
Google rolled out live captions in the Chrome browser last month and now that feature is arriving on "most" Chromebooks. The feature can be enabled in the Advanced section of the Settings menu and automatically adds captions to audio content on the web or audio and video files that can be dragged and dropped into Chrome.
Finally, there's a new scanning feature that Google launched for tax season to make it easier to digitize documents and receipts.
This feature requires a printer/scanner to feed document images to the Scan app. It scans work over Wi-Fi and USB connections but not Bluetooth.