Chromebooks gain interface improvements with new Stable update

True to the “always new computer” tagline, Google(s goog) updated its software for Chromebooks on Friday, bringing several user interface improvements and new features. In a post on the Chrome Releases blog, Google says machines will all start receiving the update over the next several days. Device owners can expect to see software version 23.0.1271.94 running on platform version 2913.224.0 in the coming days, regardless of which Chromebook model they have: Samsung’s Chromebook, Series 5 550 or Acer’s C7. (See my performance testing between the three models here)

The update hasn’t appeared on my Chromebook yet, but here’s what I expect to see, per the release notes:

  • Updated default apps
  • Window Manager Enhancements
  • UI improvements for notifications through the new message area
  • UI improvements to the out of box experience
  • UI improvements to the sign-in screen
  • Device reset from start screen and settings (click here for more details)
  • Enable key apps offline by default
  • Cloud-based wallpaper management

I’ve actually been seeing experiencing some notification issues so my hope is that the new message area improvements fix them. And I suspect that any apps associated with Google Drive — think Docs, Sheets and Slides — are the “key apps” enabled for offline use by default. If so, that’s a big plus for usability as new users shouldn’t have to figure out how to enable offline use for the productivity software.