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Chrome OS build 72 brings native Assistant integration and PIP

Chrome OS version 72 is now rolling out, having moved from beta to official release. It brings native Google Assistant integration, Picture-in-Picture video playback, changes to the Cast UI and security improvements, plus wider Android Pie adoption.

Assistant will now be natively available on all Chromebooks. Instead of being sidelined in the bottom left corner (like on the Pixelbook), it takes center stage and is treated to a larger window (like on the Pixel Slate below). Otherwise, it does the same Assistant-y things as on any other device, responding to ‘Hey, Google’, answering questions and helping you stay organized.

The Cast interface has been reworked and now you get a cast icon in the top right corner, with the blue color scheme of the old implementation scrapped to make way for a simpler gray-on-white. Picture-in-picture is now available in Chrome OS after being introduced in the Chrome browser a while ago and here it’s the default way to open local videos in the browser.

Underneath the surface, Google’s addressed the ‘Rubber ducky’ issue – a vulnerability that allows malicious USB devices masquerading as keyboards to execute commands while your Chromebook isn’t awake. Called USBGuard, the new feature effectively ignores input from USB connections while the device is locked, only to resume them when you unlock it. It can also be disabled if you like to live dangerously.

The update should roll out to all Chromebooks ‘over the next several days’.

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