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Google Photos for Chromebooks gets a video editor and movie maker

Later this year, Google Photos will receive a significant update that has the distinction of coming to Chromebooks for the first time. According to a Google blog post, Google Photos will get a new movie editor and video editing features this fall as part of a Chrome OS update. From the sound of things, this will allow users to create videos similar to the highlight clips that the app already creates automatically. You will be able to select a theme as well as the people or animals you want to feature in it; from there, Google Photos will create a movie using video clips and images from your library. It will be smart enough to digitize longer videos and extract specific clips to include in these new creations as well.

While it’s no surprise that Google includes an automated tool, the company also includes the ability to start from scratch, adding video clips and photos in any order you choose. The app will let you adjust things like brightness and contrast, trim clips as you see fit, add title cards and music, and apply Google’s Real Tone filters that work best with non-white hairstyles and darker skin tones.

Google isn’t yet saying if these video-editing features will come to mobile apps for iOS and Android, but Google Photos has generally had feature parity regardless of platform, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see these tools s ‘extend beyond Chromebooks before long. In fact, the video editor will be integrated with an optimized version of the Google Photos Android app specially designed for larger screens. The app will also work seamlessly with Chrome OS Files and Gallery apps, so you can open a video in the Gallery app and immediately move it to Google Photos for editing or including in a new creation.


Many other handy updates are planned for Chrome OS in the coming months. Another new Google Photos feature will allow Chromebooks to access your library and use those images as wallpaper; Like other Chrome OS wallpaper options, you can choose a specific album and set it to change daily. The aforementioned Gallery app is going to get PDF editing functionality, so you can fill out forms and sign them if you’re using a Chromebook with a stylus. This feature is coming next week. There’s also a new Cursive app for capturing and organizing handwritten notes; these can be copied and pasted into other apps or exported to PDF, depending on how you need to share them.

Chrome OS is also getting a new dark mode, which has been rumored for a long time. As you can on most other devices, you’ll be able to choose a mode or have it automatically switch depending on the time of day. Some new wallpapers will also come with light and dark versions which automatically change depending on the theme you are using as well.

Chrome OS wallpaper picker


Finally, Google is making some productivity improvements to Chrome OS. Clicking on the date in the Chromebook shelf will bring up a monthly calendar view; you can choose a date to see your Google Calendar events without having to open the app or website. And Chrome OS will let you save virtual desktop configurations, so if you have a specific set of tabs and apps you use frequently, you can call them up and skip them as needed.

Most of these updates are expected to arrive in August, although Google has specifically indicated that the virtual desktop update won’t be available until late September. And Google Photos’ video editing tools are expected to arrive in “the fall” – hopefully sooner rather than later.

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