Google’s Chrome OS will be getting a number of new features in the near future, including voice dictation of text and a feature called “Better Together” that links your Chromebook and Android phone together. There will also be support for eSIM technology on select Chrome OS devices, making LTE connectivity a breeze, and a change to the favicons featured in the Omnibox’s prediction drop down menu that will make them more colorful and make it easier for users to tell at a glance whether something they’re typing in may be related to a site they’ve already bookmarked. The favicon change could feasibly wind up on the Chrome browser’s desktop version as an OS-agnostic feature, but there has been no word on that so far.
The dictation feature will be system-wide on Chrome OS, and manifests as a small microphone icon in the bottom of the screen. Clicking or tapping it will activate dictation, as will pressing Search + D. When the feature is active, you can click into any text entry field and speak what you want to appear, and it will populate after a pause so that it can parse out sentences, format and other niceties. eSIM support also seems to be in the works, which will both encourage users and carriers to embrace eSIM technology quicker and more openly, and will push early adopters toward Google’s own Project Fi, which is currently the only eSIM-compatible carrier in the United States. Better Together, meanwhile, will launch with the ability to read and answer SMS messages on your Chromebook, use Instant Tethering to share internet from your phone to your Chromebook, and use Smart Unlock to keep your Chromebook from asking you for a password if your phone is nearby. Finally, favicons will soon become more bright and colorful, making them stick out more from other results in the Omnibox.
Most of these features are live in either the Dev or Canary channels of Chrome OS. This writer tested the newest build of Chrome Dev for both Linux and Windows, and found none of these features to be live. If you’re planning on switching your Chromebook over to the Dev or Canary channel to try out these features early, caution is advised; making the switch will bring you into a world of potentially unstable software and updates, and will reset all of your data on the device.