ChromeOS 103 bolsters Google’s ecosystem with improvements to Phone Hub, Nearby Sharing, and more.

Google aims to build an ecosystem worthy of rivaling Apple

Google is working to strengthen its ever-evolving ecosystem of products. Between Android, ChromeOS, and all your various accessories, making sure everything feels like a connected platform is key. Starting with ChromeOS 103, Google is rolling out all sorts of features first introduced in the last six months, including support for Nearby Share, recent photos in Phone Hub, and more.

None of today’s Chromebook announcements come as a surprise – in fact, some of them have been known for over a year. First announced at Google I/O last year, the Phone Hub supports recent images, with photos automatically uploaded and sent to your device directly from your phone. This happens in the background, even when your Chromebook is offline, so you can grab and download images directly to your laptop without connecting or searching for a local Wi-Fi hotspot. Although some users got early access to this feature a few weeks ago, it’s great to finally see it coming to all devices.

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This is not the only improvement made to the files. Nearby Sharing has support for Wi-Fi password sharing from Android. You’ll be able to share Wi-Fi network information from any Android phone’s settings, with Chromebooks appearing in the Nearby tile. No action is required on your part: the network name and password are automatically transmitted to the Chromebook, which connects it online in seconds.

Finally, Google reiterated that Fast Pair will be coming to Chromebooks in a future update later this summer. It’s something the company first announced at CES – and we’ve known about it for even longer. Once online, you’ll be able to pair any supported device to your laptop in seconds, without having to wade through the settings menu. Fast Pair doesn’t just speed up the syncing process, it also links your headphones to your Google account, so they’ll start working on all the devices you use regularly.

These features, along with a new Screencast tool for teachers that Google announced earlier this month, are all part of ChromeOS 103. It should be available as a stable update shortly.