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Chromebooks get new AI features and Gemini Advanced for free

Magic Editor being shown on a Chromebook.
Google

Google has announced a new selection of Chromebook Plus devices that boast some new AI features and a free subscription to Gemini Advanced.

Google launched its Chromebook Plus initiative in October 2023 with a more premium brand of Chromebooks, and now Google is answering the recent push into AI by Microsoft with its own. Copilot+ PCs looks great, but Google says that AI should not be for just those who have over $1,000 to spend on a laptop. Chromebook Plus laptops start at $349 and range up to $649, but often come with better performance and features.

A number of new AI features are launching within the next week. There’s nothing mind-blowing here, just small touches of AI that remind you that Google owns Gemini. First off, Gemini as a chat window will be pinned to the shelf on all Chromebook Plus devices. Then there’s “Help me write,” which will write for you, rewrite things, or correct your writing. Because it’s built into the operating system, you can access it across all apps and in the Chrome browser. In practice, it’s not dissimilar to what you can currently do with Copilot in Edge by right-clicking.

There’s also a couple of smaller updates, such as being able to generate AI imagery for your desktop wallpaper or videoconferencing background. This works across Google Meet, but also in Teams or Zoom.

Lastly, Magic Editor is being brought to Google Photos on Chromebooks. This is the popular feature that was introduced to Pixel phones and lets you easily remove background from images.

Apart from AI, Google also announced some new gaming features. Google claims that one in four people game on their Chromebooks, and that there’s been a 40% increase in gaming on Chromebooks — no doubt due to the proliferation of cloud gaming. To support this trend, Google announced Game Dashboard and Game Controls. Game Dashboard is a new “one-stop shop” to collect your games, change settings, and integrate social stats. You can also do Game Recording to record your webcam content and gameplay seamlessly and access it right from your device.

Game Controls is the most exciting, though. The feature lets you remap controls that previously required controllers to certain keys or mouse buttons.

Google says these new features work across all games, including both Android or cloud-based.

Google

Some other non-AI related features that are soon launching in ChromeOS include a built-in GIF recorder, an enhanced launcher search, and Google Tasks integration into the shelf calendar.

Of all these new features, though, a year of free access to Gemini Advanced might be the biggest inclusion in these new devices — especially since some Chromebook Plus laptops start as low as $349. Gemini Advanced gets you access to the latest Gemini model and all the AI features built into the Google Worksuite applications.

A selection of new Chromebooks shown in a grid.
Google

Of course, alongside these new features is a group of new Chromebooks. Google highlighted the new Acer Chromebook 516 GE, a $699 “gaming laptop” with a high refresh rate display, RGB keyboard, and an Intel Raptor Lake processor. There’s also the new Acer Spin 714, which also comes in at $699 and has an Intel Meteor Lake CPU, a 1440p webcam, and a touchscreen display. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Google showed off the Asus CM30, which costs just $299, and the HP Chromebook x360, which comes in both Chromebook and Chromebook Plus options depending on the configuration.

All these new Chromebooks are available starting today. Google has also announced a series of new AI features that haven’t yet come out, but are currently in the works.

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Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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