Turn your Chromebook into a smart screen

Google started rolling out Chrome OS 88 for Chromebooks a few weeks ago. One of the most useful features of that update is the option that turns your Chromebook into a kind of smart screen (also called a smart display).

Although the possibilities are still a bit limited, it is nice to know that your Chromebook can now do much more than process a little text and surf online. Before we explain how to get the right settings up, make sure you have Chrome OS version 88 on your Chromebook. The update should now be available for the majority of devices that can officially download and install it.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

Set Chromebook as smart display

When you are sure that you have Chrome OS 88, you can go to the settings of your Chromebook. You will then see a row of categories on the left. Here you choose the category for personalizing the device. This is the same place where you also adjust your background, switch search engines and activate the Google Assistant.

However, the option that matters is the screen saver option. In most cases the screen saver is turned off. When you tap on that option, you will see an overview of things that the screen saver can do. When your Chromebook is not being used for a while and is therefore inactive, you can set the device to show photos, display the current time and weather, and provide access to media information. That’s basically what smart screens, like a Google Nest Hub, do. Thus, the basis for the smart screen has in fact been laid.

When you turn on the screen saver, you get access to two options for displaying images. You can use the photos from your Google profile, stored with Google Photos, but you can also choose to have your Chromebook show images of artworks. If you choose the first option, you can also choose a special folder. If you have already created a special folder for displaying photos on your smart display, you can now also use the same folder for your Chromebook. But you can also choose to see only a few photos or just a few. You can also choose degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit.

And in the future?

Now the functions are still fairly basic, but that may change in the future. For example, you can already use the Google Assistant on your Chromebook, but it would be even better if the voice assistant could also be called up after activating the screen saver. In addition, it would be great if the screensaver became a touch-sensitive environment that does not wake your device from its idle state when you want to control something on the screen, for example by indicating that you want to listen to the next song. This makes the Chromebook a really smart screen.


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