Friday, 24 Sep, 2021

How To Add An Ambient Mode-Style Screensaver To Your Chromebook

Ambient Mode has, sort of, made its way over to the Chromebook platform over the past several months in the form of a screensaver but learning how to ..

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Ambient Mode has, sort of, made its way over to the Chromebook platform over the past several months in the form of a screensaver but learning how to access or use it won’t necessarily be a cakewalk. Especially with consideration for the fact that Google isn’t actually calling it Ambient Mode on the platform. Instead, opting for a potentially more apt “screen saver” branding.

For clarity, this feature essentially turns your Chromebook into a photo frame when it goes idle. Which takes around six to eight minutes with Chromebooks. Depending mostly on whether battery power or a cable is currently being used for power.

Google doesn’t call this “Ambient Mode” so how is this like that feature?

Now, the new feature is technically a screensaver for your Chromebook rather than a full “Ambient mode” such as what’s seen on smart home displays or Chromecast devices. And it’s hardly surprising that Google isn’t calling it Ambient Mode.

For starters, Ambient Mode on a smart display still leaves open immediate access to Google Assistant via voice input. That’s not the case with Chromebooks since that feature doesn’t appear to work at all unless the screen is on. So, comparatively speaking, there is some functionality missing on that front.

Similarly, on a Chromecast device, users have the option to cast to their television or monitor using Chromecast in apps. That’s not the case with Chromebooks, relegating yet another feature commonly associated with Ambient mode. And that includes the lack of the Chromecast’s ability to link up a Stadia controller directly from the Ambient screen. Which users of Chromebooks also can’t do.

None of that means that users won’t want to learn how to enable the screensaver on their Chromebook though. Not only does the feature provide a clear and easy way to see that a Chromebook is about to go to sleep. Or a great range of images and photos to look at when it crops up. It also provides ready, at-a-glance access to time and weather information anytime the device does go into screensaver mode. While also effectively allowing Chromebooks to act as a digital photo frame for the home or office when on standby.

How to turn on your Chromebook screensaver

Of course, the first step in how to access the screensaver feature on a Chromebook is straightforward. Namely, it simply needs to be turned on since it isn’t by default. And that’s not without apparent good reason, as we’ll discuss later on in this guide. In the interim, there are just a few steps here that you’ll need to follow to get started.

First, open up the Chromebook Settings app. That can be accomplished via the app launcher — tucked behind the concentric circle icon at the lower-left-hand side of the display. But an easier way is to start by tapping or clicking on the clock icon on the Chromebook shelfLocate the gear-shaped Settings icon at the top-right-hand side of the resulting Quick Tile/Quick Settings paneTap or click on the Settings iconNext, use the search functionality — highlighted by default when the app is opened — to search for “screen saver.” It should be the first option. Tap or click on that. Or scroll down to the “Personalization” card and tap or click on “Screen saver.” That shows as the last option on that cardThe screen saver is disabled by default. Tap or click on the toggle switch next to the word “Off” to turn the screensaver feature on. The label for the setting will change to “On” and it will be enabled





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Of course, even after users turn on the screensaver on a Chromebook, that won’t necessarily work how some users might expect it to. For starters, there’s no quick way to actively turn on the screensaver on a Chromebook. So users will simply need to wait for several minutes without interacting with the Chromebook until it turns on. There’s also no way to choose how long the Chromebook will need to sit before it turns on the screensaver.

Those are things that could, potentially, be added later on. But they don’t exist in the system right now.

Another caveat to be aware of, of course, is that the screensaver doesn’t stay on indefinitely. In fact, it will only cycle through a few photos before returning to a blank, black screen. And there’s no way to adjust this internal system timer either. At least not at the time of this writing. The only way to keep it on is to turn it on indefinitely by navigating to the Power menu in settings and setting the “When idle” for “While charging” and “While on battery” settings to “Keep display on.”

How to choose your Ambient Mode art and temperature unit for your  Chromebook

Now, the default settings for the screensaver mode on a Chromebook are typically going to be good enough for just about any user. So most users will be able to stop right there.

After all, without diving into Google Photos, as we will momentarily, there are only two available categories of screensavers to choose from. And both are selected by default. But there is at least some customization that can be done on that front too, for those who want a more personalized experience.

For instance, adjusting the weather temperature unit used and choosing to use only one of the two options instead of both. Or turning both on, for users who have already customized but who can’t figure out how to get back to that menu.

First, return to the screen saver menu in the Chromebook settings, as shown above, and scroll down to the very bottomUnder “Weather, select whether you’d prefer your temperature measurements in Celsius or Fahrenheit. The system will automatically apply the change as it’s instantiated. So there’s no need to click on any “save” or “apply” buttons hereTo change which set of artwork is used for the screensaver, conversely, users need to scroll back up a bit to the “Background” segment of the Screen saver menuTap or click the rightward-facing chevron arrow next to Art Gallery. We’ll discuss Google Photos in the next segment since it’s a bit more complicatedGoogle’s Chrome OS will showcase the available categories for curated art and photos. At the time of this writing, there are two. One dubbed “Earth and space” and the other dubbed “Featured photos” pulled from Getty images and other sources. By default, both categories are selected and Chrome OS simply cycles through them. So both feature a blue checkmarkTo deselect a category, tap or click on its card. The blue checkmark will disappear for categories that haven’t been selected. Of course, you can’t deselect all image categories. Chrome OS throws an error message as shown in the images below if you try to deselect them allTo reselect a category, tap or click on its card. The blue checkmark will reappear for categories that have been selectedAs with the previous setting, no further action is required on the part of the user. As the selections are made, Chrome OS automatically updates things on the system side. So there’s no “save” or “apply” button that needs to be tapped or clicked. Changes will appear the next time your Chromebook enters screensaver mode

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As seen in the images above, Chrome OS only currently serves up to categories for its Screen saver feature. But that will likely change in the future to more closely match the categories present on other platforms. Specifically, as that presently applies to Ambient Mode on Chromecast and Smart Home devices.

You can customize the screensaver to show your Google Photos on Chromebook too

The final bit of customization in the current arrangement of the Chromebook screensaver feature ties directly into Google Photos. Namely, by allowing users to create or set an album to fill their screen with their own personal photos whenever the device goes into standby.

Now, the obvious first step will be to have set up a Google Photos album for this purpose. But this guide isn’t here to discuss that. Summarily, in the Google Photos app or web app, users simply need to navigate to the Albums section. That’s on the right-hand sidebar on the web or, in the case of the app, in the Library tab. Then select to create a new Album.

Albums can also be set up, in individual settings, to automatically add new pictures of recognized faces. That way, images of friends and family or a memorable moment can be displayed instead of the typical photos used by every Chromebook user.

From there, learning how to set up the system to show an album in the screensaver on a Chromebook is easy.

Using the steps outlined in the first guide here, navigate to the Settings app and then to the “Screen saver” option in the Personalization segmentThis time around, we’re going to tap or click on the right chevron arrow next to the “Google Photos” option on the “Background” cardChrome OS displays a list of photo albums synced down from Google Photos for users to select fromTap or click on the album you’d like to showcase when your Chromebook goes into standby modeThe selected album will gain a blue checkmark to show that it’s been selected. There’s no “save” or “apply” button since Chrome OS automatically applies the change to the system. Navigating back to the previous page, using the back arrow at the top of the page will show that Google Photos has been selected

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As noted above, once an album is changed over, users will need to wait for the standby mode to be initiated before they’ll see the results of the change. And the screensaver will only show on-screen for a short period before the screen goes blank again.

Here’s how to turn the screensaver back off again and why you’d want to do that

Now, some users may actually end up wanting to turn “Screen saver” off on their Chrome OS gadgets. And there are plenty of reasons why that may be the case. The most obvious of which is battery drain. By allowing Chrome OS to show a screen saver or act as a photo frame, even for short periods as noted above, the screen is forced to stay on and so is networking.

That means that the battery life of a Chromebook using this feature will — if the user leaves their Chromebook alone often enough and for long enough — drain the battery significantly.

Of course, as noted in the introduction here, the built-in screensaver mode also doesn’t quite resemble Ambient mode on other gadgets. And it isn’t exactly the most customizable feature as of this writing either. So it may simply not be desirable for every user. Fortunately, Google makes turning it off as easy as turning it on. And it isn’t, as also noted above, turned on by default.

Turning this feature off effectively follows the same steps outlined in the first section of this ‘how to’ for the Chromebook screensaver feature. Namely, by first accessing the Settings app via either a tap on the clock icon on the main Chrome OS shelf or through the app drawer-like launcherFrom there, scroll down to or searching for the screen saver segment will call up the appropriate cardClick or tap on the “Screen saver” optionClick or tap on the now-blue colored toggle switch next to the “On” label at the top of the resulting page. The toggle will turn gray and the label will change to display the word “Off” insteadNo further action is needed, Chrome OS will no longer display the Chromebook screensaver when your device is idle

The post How To Add An Ambient Mode-Style Screensaver To Your Chromebook appeared first on Android Headlines.

By: Daniel Golightly
Title: How To Add An Ambient Mode-Style Screensaver To Your Chromebook
Sourced From: www.androidheadlines.com/2021/07/how-to-add-ambient-mode-style-screensaver-chrome-os-chromebook.html
Published Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 23:00:57 +0000

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