dell chromebook 11 lid march 2014Image: Michael Homnick

Chrome OS adds folders for better app management

Google recently added some new features to Chrome OS that will make it easier to manage Chrome apps, control open browser windows, and search for stuff smartphone-style. The new changes are rolling out now via the Chrome OS stable channel and will land on all Chrome OS devices except the ASUS and Samsung Series 3 Chromeboxes.

Folders

The Chrome OS launcher now supports folders, allowing you to group your Chrome apps the way you'd like. Collecting apps into folders has always been a handy feature on smartphones to help better manage limited home screen space.

Chrome OS devices don't quite have the same problem since you can pin apps to the taskbar-like shelf. Nevertheless, there's still a finite amount of space there, so an added way to stay organized will definitely be helpful.

Minimization returns

Google has been messing around with the window control buttons in Chrome OS for about a year, which has upset some users. The company says the minimize button returns to Chrome OS with the latest update in response to feedback from users.

Browser hotwords

Similar to Android, anyone using U.S. English can now say 'Ok Google' from the new tab page or Google.com for hands-free search. Google added hotword detection to the beta build of Chrome for PCs in February, but the feature has yet to land in the stable build.

In addition to the three big new features, Chrome OS is also getting captive portal detection for those times when you are using a public Wi-Fi spot that starts off on a landing page (usually to agree to some terms of service) before allowing you to browse the web.

If you don't see the new features in your Chrome OS device yet, Google says the new additions will be rolling out over the next few days.

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