The latest ChromeOS update delivers several accessibility improvements


It’s been a big day for the Chrome platform. Not only has the mobile app received an update to its search function, but Chromebooks are receiving a patch in the form ChromeOS M126. It’s not a major refresh, but it does introduce several quality-of-life improvements that collectively aim to make the system more accessible. There isn’t a specific focus on anything in particular, as multiple features are being updated.

Starting from the top, the Chromebook Camera app is obtaining Super Resolution. This gives the laptop’s camera the ability to zoom in on objects if they don’t have a built-in optical motor. However, on certain “high-performance Chromebooks,” Super Resolution can visually enhance the photos it captures. Exactly which models will get this is unknown.

Next on the visual updates is the Magnifier tool integrating into Select to Speak. Now, whenever Select to Speak reads words aloud, Magnifier will automatically follow and enlarge text as it goes along “so you never lose your place.” Google states you’ll need both tools enabled to see the feature. Additionally, you can zoom in further by pressing the Ctrl, Alt, and Brightness Up keys. Replacing the last key with Brightness Down lets you zoom out.

People who are photosensitive or have cognitive differences can also turn the blinking cursor rate for a more comfortable user experience.

Extra tools

The rest of the patch moves away from accessibility updates and more towards offering users extra tools. Quick Start, for example, is now available on Chromebook and allows users to connect their Android smartphone to their computer as a fast way to migrate Wi-Fi and Google Account login information when setting up a Chromebook for the first time. It will let you set up a Chromebook without entering a single password – pretty handy. 

Parents will appreciate these next set of changes, as the company is splitting “permissions for sites, extensions, and apps” to offer more granular parental control options. Supervised accounts also need to ask for approval before they can install an extension.

A new system option has been added to the Settings menu to turn off the swiping gesture when navigating between pages. Last but not least, Google is launching multi-calendar support to let you view events from multiple sources via the Google Calendar app.

ChromeOS M126 will be rolling out over the coming days, so watch for the patch when it arrives. Do note that your device may not be immediately “eligible.” We reached out to Google for clarification on what would make a Chromebook ineligible, and we’ll report back if we hear back.

In the meantime, check out TechRadar’s list of the best Chromebook in 2024.

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“}]] The Magnifier tool will follow along with Select to Speak, and certain Chromebooks can improve webcam images via Super Resolution.  Software, Computing TechRadar – All the latest technology news Read More 

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