The ChromeOS 108 release is now available and follows just a few days after the Chrome browser was updated to version 108. Chromebooks get five key, new features with the software update, which is rolling out to most of the supported ChromeOS devices. If you haven’t received the ChromeOS 108 release, you can check the status of your device here.
Google only updates the “What’s New” release notes every few versions, so you won’t explicitly be told what’s inside the ChromeOS 108 release. Here’s what I found so far, which is a mix of items I’ve previously covered and some new ones.
The ChromeOS Files app gets the Trash can
I call it a Recycle Bin, but you can call it a Trash can. Whatever you prefer, it’s there in the ChromeOS 108 release. I’ve been using the Trash can as an experimental feature since ChromeOS 89. That’s a long time for an experimental feature. I started to think Google forgot about it.
Anyway, when you delete files in the Files app on your Chromebook, they’re no longer wiped from existence. Instead, they go to the Trash can, where you can restore some or all of them. Don’t wait though. Files older than 30 days disappear into the ether automatically.
High-Performance Settings are available in ChromeOS 108
Although they’re hidden by an experimental flag in ChromeOS 108, the Memory Saver and Energy Saver options are available. These also appeared in Chrome 108 earlier in the week although I believe they’re generally available in the browser.
To enable them, go to
chrome://flags#battery-saver-mode-available and enabled the features. Restart your browser when prompted.
Now you should see new options in your Chrome browser Settings, not in the Chromebook settings. If you’re confused, you may not be aware that Google is separating the Chrome browser from ChromeOS. Here you can allow Chrome to discard data from active tabs, keep tabs from certain sites to be always active, and reduce some features to save on battery life.
Chrome Enterprise gets the ability to rollback to prior versions of ChromeOS
I don’t use a managed Chromebook, but if I did, I would appreciate this new feature in the ChromeOS 108 release. Managed devices can be rolled back up to three versions prior to the current Stable Channel. Or your IT folks can drop you down to the latest ChromeOS LTS, or long-term Stable version. That software only sees major updates every six months or so, which brings software stability to the enterprise.
Note that since the rollback feature is brand new, it will take two future versions before all three prior ones are available. With ChromeOS 108, for example, managed devices can only roll back to 107. Once ChromeOS 109 arrives, version 107 will stay as the oldest available rollback version, and so on.
Document scanning on a Chromebook is improved
If you scan documents using the camera on your Chromebook, you might end up with a PDF of each and every page you scan. The ChromeOS 108 release can take multiple scans and combine them into a single PDF. It’s another feature I’ve never used, mainly because my always-present phone does the same thing. However, this is handy for those that do.
The virtual keyboard is revamped in the ChromeOS 108 release
ChromeOS tablet and convertible Chromebook owners should look for an improved virtual keyboard. Google says:
[I]t’s now even easier` to type what you want easily with a newly redesigned virtual keyboard. With just a tap on the new header bar, you can switch between languages, pull up the emoji library, or access the handwriting tool. The virtual keyboard also more quickly processes fast typing – so no need to slow down to make sure that every key is pressed one by one.
I initially thought this was generally available but I didn’t see the updated virtual keyboard after installing the ChromeOS 108 release. So I went to
chrome://flags#enable-cros-virtual-keyboard-new-header and enabled that function. Now I see what Google is describing:
All of the settings and options are available on the left side of the keyboard header, making them easier to get at. And the language picker is over on the right, next to the keyboard “shrinker” option. I’m sure it’s called something else but I’m going with “shrinker”.
While you ponder on my word choice, I’ll keep digging around to see what else I can find in the ChromeOS 108 release.
11 thoughts on “ChromeOS 108 release adds 5 new features to Chromebooks”
Great newsletter! Thanks!
I wish all versions of ChromeOS had the “roll back version” option available, not just Enterprise! After ChromeOS 106 broke crouton, I was contemplating life without Ubuntu on my Asus CX5 Chromebook! Crouton still worked on my EOL antique Asus C202 stuck forever at ChromeOS 105. Fortunately, by ChomeOS 108, either crouton got fixed (my assumption) or ChomeOS got modified so crouton could work (seems unlikely but who knows?). Although crouton is officially “maintenance only,” it still installs and run bionic, (18.04 LTS) and focal 20.04 LTS) just fine, jammy (22.04 LTS) not so much. If I can’t get jammy going, I can live with focal for its support cycle, which goes out to 2027!
Crostini install seems to fail repeatedly on CrOS 108.
Hmm… I’ve been using it for hours each day since Friday on ChromeOS 108 Stable. No issues. Maybe backup your container, remove Linux, readd it, and restore it?
It won’t do an initial install on my new Asus. I’m assuming you already had it installed prior to taking 108.
Yup, I did have it previously installed. But… I also did a powerwash on that ChromeOS 108 device for testing something else. Linux installed again with no issues. Wondering if it’s something specific to the build for that Asus model. Might be worth submitting a bug report to Google in case that’s the situation. 🤷♂️
Does the updated virtual keyboard still permanently screw up window sizing? (I hate when that happens.)
I have an Acer Spin 714 which still has not been updated to ChromeOS 108. I checked the Chromium Dash site and the stable version for Brya Kano (Spin 714) is 107.0.5304.110 Any idea why the long lag time for updating this Chromebook?
Unfortunately, only Google knows, Nancy. They could be testing something specific to that device or they just scheduled it after the initial rollout.
Thanks so much, Kevin. You’re my Chromebook guru!
I think the link on the section about document scanning may need updating to https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/10314655#108&zippy=%2Cchrome.