Comment: One-click Calendar is a good place to start for Chromebooks’ improved Google app integration.

When folks, particularly in the early days of mobile, stated that the iPhone was the ideal location to use Google apps, there was a grain of truth to that. That’s clearly not the situation with Android phones today, but I believe that argument holds water when contrasting Chrome for Mac/Windows and ChromeOS with Google online services. Fortunately, that is beginning to change on Chromebooks as evidenced by the one-click integration of Google Calendar.

A smaller app launcher and a legitimate dark theme are just two of the significant UI changes in ChromeOS 104, which began rolling out last week. The month/day now showing up in the bottom-right corner of each screen is the most significant improvement, though.

Previously, in order to get a small date readout, you had to click the time. Users may press it to open a month view that syncs with Google Calendar, and it is now always visible. Scrolling through and tapping a day displays all of the events. For further information, click again to access the PWA.

It’s already quite easy to have rapid access to a monthly calendar for simple recall, and the fact that it syncs with Google’s service merely makes it much more useful. Although rival desktop operating systems have long offered quick access to a calendar view, ChromeOS users may always visit the website or download the Android version that is compatible with wide screens. Simply put, adding this feature to Chromebooks took much too long.

Prior to the addition of the capability, Gmail, Google Calendar, and Photos did not work differently between Chrome for Mac, Windows, Linux, and ChromeOS and Chrome for Windows. Google’s operating system did not significantly improve the experience for first-party apps for years (after the novelty of offline Drive and Docs access also made its way to the Chrome browser).

Another indication of a change is how ChromeOS 104’s wallpaper selection tool now works with Google Photos to provide quick library browsing and custom auto-rotating backdrops. In hindsight, it’s amazing that this took so long to implement, especially because Google Photos for Chromebooks will soon have a deeper video editor.

The latest Better Together capabilities to better connect your Chromebook and Android phone were announced at the beginning of this year by the Android and ChromeOS teams. Coming soon are features like Android Quick Setup, the ability to reply to chat applications from your phone, Fast Pair, and Wear OS unlock.

Although they should be fairly practical, Google would be wise to develop connectors between ChromeOS and its most well-liked third-party services. Given how frequently people use video calling these days, Google Meet is an excellent candidate, while using Google Keep to take written notes could be easier.

Google discussed providing more intelligent experiences that “utilize its” artificial intelligence capabilities to aid customers proactively, in addition to the aforementioned cross-device interactions, when Chromebooks turned 10 last year. For my money, I’d benefit more from quicker access to the apps I use frequently and UX enhancements.

Google might find it appealing (and simpler) to view Chromebooks as nothing more than thin clients for the internet, but we now live in a time where rival platforms are stepping up their integration efforts, emphasizing the benefits of being on the same platform. The Google ecosystem needs to be more seamlessly integrated into ChromeOS.

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