Chromebook users may soon get the Pixel phone’s best feature: Its camera app

With Google continuing to blur the line between its Chrome operating system and Android, we’re now learning that Google may soon port the Google Camera app from its Android-powered Pixel line of smartphones to Chrome OS devices. Reddit users reported that they noticed a secondary camera app appeared inside the dock after Google rolled out an update to the Chrome OS on the dev channel. It’s unclear when Google intends to more broadly roll out the update that brings the new Google Camera app to all Chrome OS users.

“On mine the left one (only one) opens up the normal app, but once open in the dock it has the right icon,” Reddit user conman__1040 reported.

chrome os pixel camera app google on
Reddit

In a posted screenshot of the two camera icons side by side, another Reddit user said that the left camera icon is the stock camera, while the one on the right is the new Google Camera app. Although a few users noted that both camera apps worked for them, some stated that the new camera app does nothing.

“Both of them work on my Samsung Chromebook Plus,” Reddit user bicyclemom wrote. Analysis of the code commit and Google’s relevant bug report indicates that the new Google Camera app will only open on Chrome OS devices that can run Android apps, which is why the app works for Pixelbook users and bicyclemom’s Samsung Chromebook Plus. For devices where both camera apps will work, it’s unclear if Google will prioritize one app over the other. “Whether the stock Chrome OS camera app or the Google Camera app is opened will be ‘determined dynamically,'” XDA-Developers reported based on its code analysis.

Given the Google Pixel’s excellent computational photography capabilities delivered through Google’s Camera app on Android, it makes sense for Google to bring its highly rated camera experience to Chrome OS. An improved camera experience may not be as useful on today’s Pixelbook given that the device doesn’t have a rear-facing camera, it could help push newer devices with mobile-friendly form factors, such as tablets and detachables. Chrome OS tablets, including the detachable HP Chromebook x2 and Acer Chromebook Tab 10, could be used as alternatives to traditional iPad and Android tablets, and an improved camera experience could allow these devices to be used for documentation purposes in business and educational environments.

Additionally, Google is also rumored to launch a new Pixelbook this fall, and there have been speculations that this device could come with a detachable keyboard, making it a good challenger to Microsoft’s recently announced Surface Go and a new crop of iPad tablets that are slated for a refresh this fall. A rear-facing camera on a Chrome detachable or tablet, coupled with an improved camera app, will make these devices more competitive.

Product Review

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 launched last year, but already feels old

Released in fall of 2018, the Surface Laptop 2 was competitive at the time but now must deal with new competitors that were announced at CES 2019. How does the popular Surface Laptop 2 hold up six months later?
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for May 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for May 2018.
Mobile

The Commerce Department implements a temporary reprieve to Huawei

Google has severed most of its partnerships with Huawei, after its addition to the "Entity List" of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Future Huawei devices will lose access to the Google Play Store, Chrome, and Android updates.
Mobile

Google’s new $999 augmented reality smartglasses are ready for business

Google unveiled Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, a new version of its business-focused augmented reality wearable. The company's smartglasses ship with a faster processor, an updated camera, and safety frames from Smith Optics.
Computing

Windows on a Chromebook is a dead dream, but something better could replace it

Recent code updates posted in Chromium Gerrit indicate that Google has canceled Project Campfire, ending its plans to let Chromebooks dual boot Windows and Chrome OS. Is hope all but lost on this popular feature?
Computing

Cybercrime gang that stole $100M busted in international effort

A major cybercrime gang that used powerful malware to steal an estimated $100 million from bank accounts has been dismantled following an international effort that spanned six countries.
Product Review

Looking for discrete graphics on the cheap? The Acer Swift 3 will do the trick

The Acer Swift 3 is a tweener laptop that’s not quite budget and not quite premium – and it feels and performs accordingly. It manages to hold its own, though, thanks to its discrete GPU.
Computing

G-Sync is a game-changer. These are the best monitors with Nvidia's display tech

Looking for a monitor that plays well with Nvidia GPUs? You need G-Sync and we have picked the best G-Sync monitors available. Take a look and find out which monitor works best for your PC upgrade.
Computing

Microsoft is discounting this Surface Laptop 2 by a sweet $300

Microsoft is offering a nearly 14-inch Surface Laptop 2 with 256GB of storage at a $300 discount until May 18, 2019. The laptop comes with a PixelSense display, and Intel Core i5 processor and a 720p HD camera.
Computing

The Razer Core X Chroma is the best external GPU you can buy

The third entry in Razer's lineup of external graphics card enclosures, the Core X Chroma, brings together the best of its previous options in a single package. With RGB lighting and extra USB ports, is this the best you can buy?
Computing

Google recalls Titan Security Key due to hijack risk

Google is offering a free replacement for the Bluetooth Low Energy version of the Titan Security Key. A misconfiguration was discovered in the device, though hackers looking to exploit the vulnerability will find it difficult to do so.
Computing

Whether you want to edit, sign, or append, PDFs, these are the best PDF editors

While there are plenty of PDF editor options online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Computing

Give your PC a new lease on life by upgrading its core components

Older PCs can still be great tools for work and play, they just need a little upgrade now and then. Here are the best upgrades you can make to your PC to make it feel fresh and fast once again.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Insect drones and kinetic sculpture robots

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!