Android Oreo brought a number of changes to Android smartphones, including a huge amount of brand new features. We got Picture in Picture mode and the Autofill API, for example. Another exciting feature we got was Smart Text Selection, which offers up a number of actions based on the text you highlight. Highlighting things such as a phone number will give you a shortcut to make the call. Google has been bringing lots of Android features to Chrome OS, and now they’re bringing Smart Text Selection from Android Oreo to Chromebooks, according to a report from Chrome Story.
The feature can be enabled with a flag right now, but doesn’t seem to do anything just yet. The flag can be found at the following URL.
For those who are unfamiliar, Smart Text Selection can do quite a lot. Here’s a picture from its demonstration at Google I/O 2017. Highlighting an address brings up a Google Maps shortcut.
It has a lot of uses, and on a productivity device such as a Chromebook, it can really save time. The problem is that it does nothing currently, and that’s because it’s in the Canary channel. As always it’s subject to development, which may involve scrapping it entirely. With Google’s commitment to bringing Android-like features to the platform though, it’s unlikely to be just dropped like that.
Google has been continuously porting over features from Android, and Chrome OS basically encompasses the whole ecosystem now. It’s quickly becoming a competitor to more powerful operating systems, especially with Linux app support on the way as well. While it’s not likely to replace the operating system of desktop power users, Chromebooks are cheap. And if they’re cheap, many won’t mind picking one up as a regular laptop alternative if it can do a lot. Chromebooks are as much about their features as they are about their power, and they’ve got a lot of features.
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