The new Chrome OS release notes on Chromebooks are already old

Some weeks back, Google added a dedicated set of release notes that are easily seen on any Chromebook after the latest software update. I’ve been asking for this feature for over two years, back when I worked with the Chrome team at Google, so I was thrilled to see this. You just click the “See what’s new” option in the About Chrome OS settings menu. Or you can view the dedicated webpage, which shows the same info.

Now that Chrome OS 78 landed last week, I went to see the release notes just to verify that I didn’t miss any big, new features.

Here’s what I saw on both a Pixelbook Go and Acer Chromebook Spin 13 after the Chrome OS 78 update:

Chrome OS release notes

The problem I see may not be obvious to you since I track Chrome OS functionality on a daily basis, so I’ll explain: These are the same features that arrived with Chrome OS 77, a full six-weeks ago.

I double-checked the dedicated, on-board release notes with the linked notes and sure enough, they too still show the features added in last release, not the most current version.

Where is the news about Virtual Desks being generally available, making it easier to group tabs and apps for improved multitasking productivity? What about the ability to tap a hyperlinked phone-number on your Chromebook and have the call placed on your connected Android phone? These are just two examples, but you get the point.

Using Virtual Desks to switch between Android Studio in Linux and general browsing activities

Frankly, for Google to want the public to see Chrome OS as a “first-class citizen” platform as compared to macOS and Windows, it has to see Chrome OS that way too. And something as simple but useful as the new release notes should be part of that perspective.

Sure, Google outlined a few key features in the blog post about Chrome OS 78, but outside of full-time Chromebook users like myself and some of the About Chromebook readers, what mainstream Chromebook user is following Google’s blog posts?

I’d wager those people are few and far between, which means there’s a failed messaging strategy here. And even worse, it fell apart right after trying to improve that messaging strategy.

There’s simply no excuse for this.

It’s not as if Google doesn’t know what’s changing in the platform since it’s the entity actually building, testing and implementing the changes. My hope is that this is a one-off occurrence because publishing outdated Chrome OS release notes is about as useful as not publishing release notes at all.

10 thoughts on “The new Chrome OS release notes on Chromebooks are already old

  • November 10, 2019 at 1:01 pm
    Permalink

    It’s corporate masochism. Chrome OS marketing loves to shoot itself in the foot.

    Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 1:31 pm
    Permalink

    My thoughts exactly.
    I sat there for a few moments looking at the same screen thinking, “surely this is a mistake? A one off oversight?”

    The “See What’s New” section is the perfect place to educate and upskill your existing user base.

    Reply
  • November 10, 2019 at 2:25 pm
    Permalink

    Sounds like Google is beginning to resemble Microsoft’s recent behavior. I swear, MS has gone completely insane, saying that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows, but then creating several “last versions” of the last version and deprecating support for each of them within months of their release. Well, okay, I guess Google’s not that bonkers, yet….

    Reply
  • November 11, 2019 at 6:42 am
    Permalink

    With my recent experience of what Google laughingly refer to as tech support I doubt if anyone at Google’s Chromebox division has noticed let alone care. They wrecked my Chromebook and when I went looking for tech support it was not available, their so called experts in their community tried to tell me I had a Google suite account and to contact my admin! It was only by sheer chance another Google victim had the same issue and was much smarter than Google’s experts that we found out the GOOGLE was responsible and it got out right, when my Chromebook hats an end of life message I am off to Apple

    Reply
  • November 11, 2019 at 7:50 am
    Permalink

    On a positive note, the lack of information on the ‘about page’ caused me to try MeWe, and found two very useful Chromebook groups where I can read and keep up do date, or ask questions in their own chat system. So this is where the G+ techies went after G+ was extinguished…

    Reply
    • November 15, 2019 at 11:29 am
      Permalink

      Thanks for mentioning the MeWe groups. I’m going to check them out.

      Reply
  • November 11, 2019 at 3:19 pm
    Permalink

    I thought I was the only one who noticed this.

    Reply
  • November 15, 2019 at 11:27 am
    Permalink

    Google has never done a good job with release notes. Just look at most of their phone apps that after being updated usually just say something like “Miscellaneous improvements and bug fixes”. It is laughably vague and simply not helpful.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: