Chrome OS Coming To Netbooks, Here Are Its New Features

Google is releasing its Chrome OS-clad netbooks, called “Chromebooks”, mid-year, and bringing a few new features to the platform. The new Chromebooks will have a better file browser, a new media player, and offline access for Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs.Here’s how some of the new features will work:

The New File Manager
The new File manager will open files in the correct web app when you double-click on them. When a web app is “installed” through the Chrome Web Store, it registers file types that it handles so your Chromebook knows how to open them.

File Handlers Bridge the Gap Between Local and the Web
Certain file types have other contextual options. If you plug in an SD card full of photos, for example, it’ll show up in your file manager, and you can do things like play a slideshow or send them straight to your Picasa web albums. It will work similarly for sending documents to Google Docs, or even with third-party applications like

The Local Media Player
The new media player can skip tracks, pause, and create playlists. The video player opens videos in a panel that hovers over your Chrome window, so you can watch and work at the same time. You can, of course, full screen it if you’re just watching.

Offline Web Apps
Lastly, Google will soon be adding Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs to the plethora of web apps on the Web Store that work offline (in the wake of Google Gears’ death).

The new Chromebooks will be available in the US from June, while offline access for Gmail, Calendar and Docs will roll out “this (northern) summer”. Oh, and they’ll also be “jailbreakable” out of the box for tinkerers.

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