ChromeOS gets better multitasking and Wi-Fi traffic prioritization


The latest version of ChromeOS (M124) is out with a couple of nice upgrades, including faster split screen setup and a new web traffic prioritization feature. The update brings other updates with it as well, like a settings UI refresh and updated gesture controls.

Judging from screenshots published by 9to5Google, the new “Faster Split Screen Setup” feature will be familiar to Windows users. After you snap an app to one side of the screen, previews of other apps pop up on the other side — pick one, and it pins there for you. Before this update, you had to navigate to the other app and repeat the side-by-side pinning process, so this should remove a little of that friction.

Setting up split screen in ChromeOS M124.
Image: 9to5Google

9to5Google writes that options for this feature can be found under Settings > System preferences > Windows and desks.

Google has also added Wi-Fi Quality of Service (QoS) to ChromeOS. The idea, much like the QoS feature of routers, is that your Chromebook will prioritize things like video calls and online games when your Wi-Fi network is congested. If it works well, that could mean higher-quality video calls, less buffering while streaming, and smoother online gaming.

In the category of “things nobody asked for,” ChromeOS now supports carrier locking — so wireless companies can sell you a Chromebook that you can only use with their service. In theory, when you pay off the laptop or the contract ends, your carrier will unlock it, which I’m sure will always go off without a hitch.

Lastly, this update brings a redesigned ChromeOS settings app that’s slathered in Google’s Material You design and structured more like smartphone settings menus, according to Chrome Unboxed. The outlet reports that there’s also a new 2-finger trackpad gesture for swiping away notifications and that ChromeOS now supports turning on the ability to digitally pan, tilt, and zoom even on Chromebook webcams that don’t support Super-Res Zoom.

Like most of its updates, Google doesn’t roll out ChromeOS versions all at once, but says version M124 will hit compatible Chromebooks “over the coming days.” To check for the update, either look for the “Update available” notification or go to Settings > About ChromeOS > Check for updates.

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