Yesterday we reported the news that “OK Google” had finally come to the Chromebook as a permanently ‘always on’ feature. Before yesterday’s update, “OK Google” could only be used in certain conditions (like when opening a new tab). However, now it can be used at any time on a Chromebook, as long as the Chromebook is on and unlocked. There was one caveat though and this was, to get the feature up and running you did need to have your Chromebook set to ‘Developer channel’. If you are new to Chromebooks then this might not make too much sense so here is a quick and brief how-to set your Chromebook to Developer channel.
The background. When you buy a Chromebook, as standard it is always set to ‘Stable’. This is to make sure the service and product you experience is reliable and minimizes the chance of glitches, bugs and the likes. For some users, this will be perfect as it its the safest set-up you can have. That said, the downside is that those on Stable are the last to get to try the newest features Chromebooks offer (like the mentioned always on “OK Google” feature). To try out these new features (which are considered experimental) you need to be set to a more experimental channel. For clarity, Chromebooks come with three channels available, consisting of ‘Stable’, ‘Beta’ and ‘Developer’. As you can probably guess, new features start in Developer, typically move to Beta (more stable than developer) and then finally arrive on Stable.
To change your Chromebook to Developer (or Beta) is real easy. First, click you profile pic down in the bottom right corner of the screen. A small pop-up will appear with all your connections. You will see at the bottom left of the pop-up it says Settings. Click Settings. This will open up the settings page in a new window. At the very top of the window, you will see a search box beside a blue linked About Chrome OS. Click the About Chrome link and another popup will open. This time you will need to look for where it says Check for and apply updates. Right beneath this, there will be another blue link which reads More info… Click this. The popup will now change and on the new popup you will see (midway down the page) a Channel sub-heading. Under this, there will be a small description telling you what channel you are currently on. This will be above a link box which reads Change channel… Once you click Change channel a last popup window will appear showing you the three channel options (like in the image above). All you have to do now is select the channel you want. Once a channel is selected, it will begin downloading the necessary files (this might take a few minutes). Once you have finished you will need to reboot the system. After the reboot, you will be on the new channel and can verify by repeating these steps and checking under the ‘Channel’ sub-heading already mentioned. If you have selected Developer channel then you will now be able to test out the latest features Chromebooks have to offer by heading back into the settings menu.