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Chromebooks just got these upgrades to better compete with Windows and MacBooks

Laptop computer displaying logo of Google Chrome, a cross-platform web browser developed by Google.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Chromebooks are getting some key upgrades, as an upcoming ChromeOS update will finally bring light and dark themes as well as some other cool new features.

Starting sometime in August 2022, you'll be able to select one theme (either light or dark) to remain on all the time. You'll also be able to have your Chromebook automatically transition from light to dark in accordance with your current time of day. Google says some new wallpapers are made for both themes and will change from Light to Dark when day turns to night. That sounds similar to the dynamic wallpapers on macOS.

This is a significant addition that makes Chromebooks more competitive, as light and dark themes are ubiquitous for Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone. Chrome did already have a dark mode option, but unlike the aforementioned platforms, it's not exactly easy to find, as we detail in our how to turn on Chrome dark mode piece.

The other big update coming to ChromeOS concerns Google Photos, which is getting a new movie editor and video editing features this fall. Available first on Chromebooks, the new movie creation features are meant to make it simple to create movies from photos and videos in Google Photos. Users will be able to use suggested themes or create movies from scratch. AI effects like Real Tone filters, the ability to add music and title cards, along with other features are also expected.

Google Photos

Google Photos will make it easier to edit and create movies. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

According to Google, Chromebook users will be able to open videos in the Gallery app and then continue editing them in Google Photos. Those who are unsure where to begin can select a theme and the photos they’d like to use. Google Photos will then generate a movie comprised of video clips and photos. It will apparently intelligently select “the most meaningful moments” from long videos. Google says all of this is possible because Google Photos will have deeper integration with ChromeOS.

Another related feature is Google Photos Wallpapers. You’ll be able to set wallpapers from one of your Google albums and also have it automatically change each day. This feature is set to arrive in August.

Google is also adding new PDF-editing features to the Gallery app, though they won't arrive until August. With this, you can fill out forms, highlight text, sign documents and add text annotations. Google also promises closer Calendar integration and notification improvements and an update to virtual desks that makes it easy to save and close an entire desk. The latter feature should arrive in September.

It's surprising how long it took for ChromeOS to get proper light and dark themes but we're glad the feature will soon be a reality. I enable automatic light-to-dark mode on all of my devices so I can't wait to toggle it on for Google Chrome. That will certainly create more cohesion between my electronics.

Tony Polanco
Tony Polanco

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.