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Google Wants You To Start Taking More Pictures With Your Chromebook

Google has some great news for the five people who take photos with their tablet or laptop. 

Portrait mode, the camera feature that makes selfies look sharper by artificially blurring the background (creating a "bokeh" effect), is coming to Chromebooks with Chrome OS version 76. Alongside portrait mode, Google also updated the camera interface in Chrome OS to make it easier for users to switch between square mode and portrait mode.  

Google announced in a blog post on Thursday that the Pixel Slate would be the first Chrome OS device to support portrait mode, but that it would bring the feature "to other Chromebooks." Google's version of portrait mode relies on clever software, so, in theory, the feature could be retrofitted onto older laptops via a software update. 

Portrait mode has been a popular smartphone feature ever since Apple introduced it in 2016. Regardless, Google's decision to bring it to Chrome OS devices is a bit of a head-scratcher. Not only is taking photos with a laptop or tablet clunky and awkward, but their webcams are also generally terrible compared to smartphone cameras. Also, portrait mode makes a lot more sense on a tablet (since they typically have rear-facing cameras), a product Google has reportedly abandoned.  

It's certainly a strange decision for Google to bring portrait mode to Chromebooks, but maybe it'll get people to start taking pictures with tablets --- let's just hope it doesn't. 

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.