Sometimes computer science is more art than science, said no computer scientist ever. When said art has an unhappy little accident, weird things can occur, like an operating system update that suddenly causes your webcam to stop working. Such was the case for some Chromebook owners after a recent Chrome OS update. Fortunately, Google says it’s solved the problem after another software patch.
As reported by About Chromebooks, users of several models built by Acer, HP, and Lenovo were affected, as well as Google’s own Pixelbook Go. Most of the models use Arm-based hardware. Bug reports indicate that any app accessing hardware cameras, including Chrome’s built-in Camera program, simply can’t display an image. Isolated issues appeared in February, but seem to have been exacerbated as more users upgraded to the landmark Chrome OS 100 build and beyond.
Fortunately, Google appears to be on top of the issue. The Verge reports that a fix for the problem was sent in an update beginning yesterday, April 7th. As it happens we still have one of the affected models, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5, as a review unit. After spending about fifteen minutes updating to the latest version of Chrome OS (100.0.4896.82), the camera app opens up without issue and displays images from the tablet’s front and rear.
So if you find that your Zoom meetings are missing a visual component, head to your Chromebook’s main Settings menu. Click “About Chrome OS,” then the “Check for updates” button.