Google's business practices have typically been very inclusive, and it's in that spirit that the company has written a blog post highlighting a number of new accessibility features for Chrome OS, Android, and several of its web apps. "It's so important to build tools to make technology accessible to everyone," writes Google. "From people with visual impairments who need screen readers or larger text, to people with motor restrictions that prevent them from interacting with a touch screen, to people with hearing impairments who cannot hear their device's sounds." Here's a quick rundown through some of those features that Google highlighted. You can now scan apps to find out if they meet the accessibility requirements.
Google is making it easier for visually impaired people to use its Microsoft Office alternatives. The biggest change is a new shortcut -- Ctrl Alt H on Windows, and CMD Option H on Mac -- to instantly toggle Braille support in Docs, Sheets and Slides. Navigational shortcuts have also been updated so the user can hear where the cursor has ended up, including comments and suggestions. In addition, the company has improved the experience and "reliability" of sifting through long documents, as well as navigating and selecting content inside tables. Finally, Google has changed its software so that images, misspelling and grammatical errors are verbalized "directly by assistive technology," such as refreshable braille displays. Google Docs, Slides and Drawings have supported Braille displays for some time.
Chromebooks may have cornered a niche market as lightweight laptops and desirable computers for education, but Google's ambitions are far bigger. The release of two new flagship Chromebooks from Samsung and the arrival of Android apps illustrate that Google envisions its operating system as a full-blown competitor to Windows and MacOS. They do involve a learning curve, though. Chrome OS somewhat resembles Windows in appearance and functionality, but some small differences can trip up a newcomer, and some of the most productivity-oriented features are buried. Whether you're new to Chrome or an old dog looking for some Googley new tricks, this guide will help you sidestep the OS's most glaring flaws and squeeze as much productivity as possible out of your Chromebook.
Google wants running Android apps on a Chromebook to feel natural, and to do that, it needs to convert someone like me--someone who's consciously avoided Android's legendary malware problems. The better fit for me has been the serenity of Chrome OS, with its regular updates, innate security, and easy recovery tools. That's why I tote my Chromebook everywhere. Android apps are coming to Chromebooks this year, though, and the truth is, they need each other. Chromebooks have had mainstream and vertical success (especially in schools), but with few native apps they're stuck in browser-land.
Acer has been making Chromebooks for years, with the latest model aimed at the enterprise. The Chromebook 14 for Work combines powerful hardware, long battery life, and the Chrome for Work initiative to make a laptop ready for work. The laptop has a glossy black lid and a black bottom. There is a USB-C port for charging on the left, along with a full HDMI port, USB 3 port, and audio port. On the right side is another USB 3, which is the extent of the ports.