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Chrome OS update adds portrait camera mode: we’re confused why too

Google’s rolled out a Chrome OS update adding a wealth of nifty new music and notification control features, alongside a slightly odd new camera portrait mode.

Google announced the new features in a blog post late on Thursday (UK time). The update should roll out to Chrome OS devices automatically the moment it’s ready, though the exact timing will depend on which region you are in.

The headline feature is the addition of a new camera portrait mode. The addition in theory means you’ll be able to take portrait shots with a bokeh effect, like you can on most Android phones. The feature will initially only be available on the Google-made Pixel Slate, but it will eventually roll out to all Chrome OS devices.

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While this is on the one hand cool, it’s also a little odd given that Google’s confirmed it won’t be making any more tablets. This means in the future it’s expecting people to take portrait photos using Chromebook laptops, which as well as being cumbersome, also generally feature terrible cameras designed for video conferencing not photography.

Thankfully the other new features look a little more useful. The update brings pretty cool looking new music controls that aim to make it easier to control playlists and audio across multiple apps and tabs.

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“Have you ever had dozens of tabs and apps open and struggled to turn off a specific tab’s audio? If so, we think you’ll find this change helpfu l— especially for those moments when you start watching a YouTube video and you want to quickly pause your music,” explained the blog post.

“Starting this month, you can open your system menu and see all of the tabs or apps on your Chromebook that are playing audio tracks and control them from one place.”

It’ll also add a new Android style “clear all” control for incoming notifications, which will be a serious boon for power and office Chromebook users.