How to use the new Gemini AI tools built into Chromebooks

Google is keen to follow the rest of the tech industry in putting AI features everywhere it possibly can. Its Gemini apps and models are at the forefront of that strategy—and the latest Google products to get a slew of AI features are Chromebooks.

To be more specific, these Gemini AI tools are now available on Chromebook Plus models, which is Google’s new-ish name for the most modern and most powerful of these laptops. It’s a badge to look out for if you’re shopping for the best Chromebooks for students (or indeed any other type of user).

Here we’ll outline all the new features that have just dropped, and how they can be used on ChromeOS. Gemini is now well and truly integrated into the software, so some AI assistance is only ever a few clicks away.

Help me write

Help me write can give you some inspiration. Screenshot: Google

Help me write is a feature that Google is adding all across its products, including Google Docs and Gmail. If you’re stuck for something to say, the feature can generate some AI text for you: For a restaurant review, an email, a blog post, or whatever it happens to be.

With ChromeOS, Help me write is just a click away. With a right-click on the trackpad in any text box on any website, you can bring up the prompt box and start producing some text—just describe the text you need and hit Enter (or click the arrow). You’ll then be shown a selection of text blurbs to choose from.

You can also right-click on any existing text you’ve written to refine it. Use the feature to shorten or expand on what you’ve said, or to make it more or less formal. You can also add your own prompts (“make this sound more casual”) if you need to.

AI wallpaper and backgrounds

screenshot of google AI wallpaper images
AI wallpapers can be generated in seconds, based on your prompts. Screenshot: Google

If the wallpapers that came with your Chromebook aren’t really grabbing you, then you can use generative AI to create some new ones. All you need is a prompt—like “a cabin in the middle of a peaceful meadow”—and ChromeOS will do the rest.

Right-click on a blank area of the desktop, then choose Set wallpaper and style and Wallpaper to bring up your options. You’ll see those options include Create with AI: Follow this link to get started. You’re asked to choose a theme (like Landscape or Classic art), which you can then refine with text prompts.

You can do something similar with video backgrounds. With any video calling app open, click the arrow next to the video icon on the ChromeOS shelf, then choose Image. You then get to the same screen used for generating wallpapers.

Magic Editor in Google Photos

screenshot of magic editor
The Magic Editor can remove objects and people from photos. Screenshot: Google

The Magic Editor has been around for a while in Google Photos for phones, but now it’s available on Chromebooks too. The main trick is being able to move or completely erase objects or people inside your pictures. 

For this, you need to have Google Photos for Android installed as an app on ChromeOS. Open up an image, choose Edit, and you’ll see a Magic Editor button up in the top left corner. Click the button to launch the separate Magic Editor interface.

You then need to select the object or person you want to manipulate—you can try scribbling over it, or click once and see if the app can select it automatically. Once that’s done, click Erase to remove the selection from the image, or click and drag it to move it somewhere else. You’ll be shown a few different generative AI takes on the task, which you can choose between.

Gemini on the home screen

AI google tools
Gemini AI is now just a click away in ChromeOS. Screenshot: Google

Another change you’re going to notice once these AI tools have reached your Chromebook is a new Gemini button on the shelf at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on this simply brings you through to the Gemini AI app in its own window.

This is the same Gemini AI app you can access on the web through any browser. If you haven’t used it before, it can generate text and answer questions on just about any topic you like, from quantum physics to small business ideas. If you’re paying for the more sophisticated Gemini Advanced model, you can switch between it and the standard model using the drop-down menu in the top left corner.

As ever with generative AI, the standard warnings apply: These models can sometimes make stuff up and give you inaccurate answers. They’re essentially probability machines with no actual intrinsic knowledge, so use them as a way of complementing other tools, rather than relying on them entirely and in isolation.

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