It looks increasingly likely that Google will soon roll out a built-in screen recorder and improved screenshot feature for millions of Chromebooks.
Last month Chrome Story spotted a reference to a built-in screen recorder feature for Chrome OS that popped up in the Chromium Gerrit. Today, Chrome Unboxed found a partially functional version of the feature in the Canary channel of Chrome OS, which is a development channel where new, not widely tested (and possibly buggy or unfinished), Chrome OS features can be trailed.
The new capture mode adds an icon to the Chrome OS taskbar, which gives users options to screen record or screen capture. In a video, Chrome Unboxed showed off how exactly the new features work, including options to take movable screenshots and resize them. Users can also capture a specific window.
Screen recording is also a major update for Chromebook users who currently rely on third party extensions to capture videos. The experimental feature doesn’t work in its current state, but the mostly complete interface is clear to see. There’s no information on when the new capture options will be rolled out, but this is the feature’s second reference in just over a month. Google also introduced native screen recording in Android 11, which started landing on Pixel phones last month.
The benefits of improved screen capture options are obvious as more schools and students adopt Chromebooks. That’s even more true during a pandemic as teachers and students work and learn from home.
But I suspect capturing high-quality clips of video games will be one of the more popular uses of the new feature. Google has dramatically boosted the Chromebook’s gaming abilities in the last few months. The search company rolled out a new premium gaming category on the Google Play Store in September, which houses games that are optimised to play on Chromebooks. Also, Nvidia announced in August that its game streaming service GeForce Now is compatible on Chromebooks – and Google’s Stadia service obviously works on Chrome OS. The combination of high-quality screen recording and gaming is a tantalising prospect.