Although mostly aimed at children and teenagers confined to remote learning as schools remain closed, the new tools are likely to be found useful by a wider audience.
The screen recording tool will be rolled out in March with the latest Chrome OS update, and other new video conferencing features will follow.
For instance, Google Meet is providing teachers with increased control over the virtual classroom, soon giving them the option to end meetings for everyone on the call, which will prevent students from staying on after the teacher has left — including in breakout rooms. They will also be able to prevent interruptions with a new “mute all” tool, which will become available in the next few weeks.
Over the next few months, Google will also be adding a tool which will allow meeting hosts to control when other participants can unmute themselves, as well as provide better access to key moderation controls when using iOS or Android devices.
The newly-announced features are all part of Google’s efforts to increase the safety of underage users, bettering their quality of education as well as preventing major security incidents such as ‘Zoom-bombing’.
To coincide with the release, the company also announced that it will be launching over 40 new Chromebooks, many of which will be 2-in-1 devices that combine the features of laptops and tablets.
The new devices are to be equipped with a stylus, touchscreen, as well as dual-cameras, making it easier for users to take notes, edit videos, record screencasts, and create a range of media, from podcasts to books and illustrations.
Google also announced that it will roll out a range of Chromebooks that can better support students with limited access to a Wi-Fi connection. The “Always Connected” devices will be equipped with LTE connectivity, allowing users to access the internet using their preferred mobile network provider. It’s currently unclear when these devices will become available – IT Pro has sought clarification on this.
Chromebook shipments between October and December 2020 hit an all-time high of 11.2 million shipped units, an increase of 287% from the same quarter in 2019.