Google‘s just updated its Chromebook system requirements. Now, to qualify as a “Chromebook Plus,” there’s a new addition. They’ve added a zooming capability to the camera app. Cool, right?
But wait, there’s more. This update also seems to include the ‘Super Res Zoom’ feature. If you’re not familiar, it’s a feature found on Google’s Pixel phones, starting with the Google Pixel 3. What’s so super about it? Well, it uses Machine Learning (ML) to extract more detail in the final result.
Now, Chromebooks usually have a front-facing webcam. It’s great for your video calls, and you can capture still images too. But let’s be honest, the hardware isn’t always up to par. The final output isn’t always something most people are okay with.
To get the Chromebook Plus badge, a device must have at least a Full HD resolution webcam. That’s a step up, right?
Google’s now pushing Super Res Zoom from Pixel devices to Chromebooks. Some Chromebook devices, like the Google Pixel Slate and the Lenovo Ideapad Duet series, also offer a back camera. But let’s be real, a photography session with these Chromebooks won’t be as convenient as on your Google Pixel 8 Pro or Galaxy S24 Ultra.
But hey, having the capability to show your surroundings on a call with a decent amount of detail and clarity is something Google is aiming for. They’ve already added built-in lighting enhancement and background blur features to Chromebook Plus OS, according to 9to5Google.
Up until now, Chromebooks didn’t have a zoom feature on its camera. But in a recent code change, the ChromeOS camera app seems to include a feature flag noted as “camera-app-digital-zoom”. The code change also reveals the “super-resolution” keyword. This suggests the inclusion of the ML-powered special zoom feature ‘Super Res Zoom’ or something similar.
But remember, the camera hardware on a flagship or even midrange smartphone is way more capable than that on a Chromebook. So, don’t get your hopes up too high.
The Zoom feature for Chromebooks is currently under development. The feature flag “camera-app-digital-zoom” is currently available on the latest Dev channel build. But it’s inactive at the moment.
We’re hoping to see improvements in ChromeOS devices at the hardware level too. This would let Google run its software magic and yield great results, just like the Pixel camera does.