In short: The Chrome OS 69 update is officially rolling out on the Stable Channel of the operating system, according to the Chrome Releases update log. The rollout represents one of the largest updates to land on Chrome OS in terms of both aesthetics and functionality, including the long-expected addition of native support for Linux applications. Born from Project Crostini, that's now accessible on supported devices in the system's settings menu. Once turned on, users will be able to download and install Linux applications for a more desktop-like experience. Other changes, meanwhile, have been made to the UI, including the new Material Design standards, resulting in a cleaner look overall. Finally, among security fixes included with the update are patches for the L1TF and Foreshadow side-channel execution vulnerabilities. The rollout will take several days to complete and the software can be manually searched for by navigating to the Settings menu, then 'About Chrome OS,' and then clicking the 'Check for updates' button.
Background: There aren't many surprises with those features since news about this update has been appearing for quite some time. However, that's not the only big change to files and apps since Android applications will now have their own section in the Files app under "Play files." Beyond that, video capture services have been added to the camera application, swipe actions now close applications in the app overview UI, and Night Light mode is present in quick settings on the shelf. Furthermore, users can now dictate into any text field after turning the feature on in settings and global text-to-speech settings have been added as well. The Chrome browser's new user interface doesn't stop with new tab design either. When using the URL Omnibox to search, suggestions will now appear with icons or images and a button will be present to allow tab-switching if Chrome detects another window is already open with the desired content or page.
One change that was initially expected but doesn't appear in this update is the removal of all special-case subdomains. Those are the designations that appear before the website domain name, such as "www" or "m." That change was intended to work together with the removal of green secure UI and highlighted red insecure UI in the Omnibox, in addition to other security-based changes, simplifying the URL bar drastically. Following some backlash about the change, the search giant has opted to only remove the "www" subdomains and to leave others for clarity and in keeping with current web standards pending further discussion on the matter.
Impact: Changes with this update primarily seem to be aimed at bringing more unification across all Chrome-compatible platforms. In particular, the changes to the Files application, addition of a night mode, and swipe actions will make Chrome OS function in a way that is much more similar to Android. On the other hand, Linux apps and file sharing bring improved productivity and functionality while the overall update improves security and the new UI should make for a more enjoyable and convenient experience.