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Chromebooks getting big upgrade to catch up to MacBooks and PCs

Chromebooks catching up with Macs and PCs with key upgrade
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Chromebooks have become the must-have device for students as remote learning has taken over during the Covid-19 pandemic. Luckily, Google's affordable laptop is about to be even more useful. 

In a blog (opens in new tab) post, Chromebook product manager Andy Russell revealed a bunch of new features and accessibility improvements are coming to Chromebooks this year. But none looks more important than screen recording. 

Russell writes, "Teachers have long recorded lessons to help students do homework and study for tests, but in the past year it’s become downright critical for virtual learning. Which is why we’ve built a screen recording tool right into Chrome OS that is coming in the latest Chromebook update in March."

So, it appears that much like on macOS, you're going to have a keyboard shortcut or some on-screen button to toggle a menu of screenshot buttons. Looking closely at the animation shared by Google (seen below), we learn this menu will open up screenshots for portions of the screen and select windows, and likely the whole screen as well. 

Chromebooks screen recording

(Image credit: Google)

This is of course of paramount value to the classroom, as recording lessons and assignments can help teachers optimize how time is used. 

Russell's blog post explains that 40 new Chromebooks are coming out in 2021, and he also explained other new features. For accessibility, the ChromeVox screen reader is getting better tutorials and adding the ability to search menus. Plus, "voice switching that automatically changes the screen reader’s voice based on the language of the text."

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.