AS MICROSOFT ENDS AN ERA with its final patches for Windows XP, Google continues to update its fledgling Chrome OS software.
In Wednesday's update, 34.0.1847.118, as well as the usual round of bug fixes and security tweaks, the Chrome team highlighted four new features in a blog post.
Side docking allows small windows and panels to be pinned to screen edges, with window size and shapes being automatically managed. Sticky keys, a familiar feature to Windows users, allows you to press keys in sequence instead of together to perform complex keyboard shortcuts.
An onscreen keyboard allows access to typing and other device features via a cursor or other pointing device, suggesting a move towards more touchscreen Chromebooks such as the Google Chromebook Pixel, and perhaps eve Chrome-powered tablet devices. There have been several rumours of Chrome OS devices over the last few months though as yet no manufacturer has made the first move.
Finally, Google Drive offline backup is now turned on by default, allowing access to files without an internet connection, however this is limited to the amount of storage on the user's machine, of course.
The Dev Channel, home of features not ready for prime time, has been updated to 35.0.1916.27, with the standout addition being recognition for tethered devices, allowing you to limit traffic on cellular connections.
Google's streaming device, Google Chromecast, also got some update love. Volume control now remains consistent across sessions while IPv6 and DNS robustness are improved, along with the usual bug fixes and stability tweaks.
Several apps for Chromecast have been updated in recent days with Youtube now able to support live streaming, and Netflix adding second screen functionality to its app. Rumours abound that future updates for the device will include an active home screen capable of weather, notification mirroring and personalised backgrounds.
The Chromecast has followed its US success with solid sales in the UK, and new apps being added almost daily, although we reported that broadcasters are not proving quick to take up the device for their on-demand services. µ