Chromebooks now let you know when you’re using the wrong USB-C cable

Google’s latest Chromebook update adds a feature that tells you if your USB-C cable has limited functionality, the company announced Friday. USB-C cables can have very different capabilities, such as different charging and data transfer rates per cable, so this new Chromebook feature looks set to be a useful troubleshooting tool.

“Eligible Chromebooks will notify you if the USB-C cable you’re using doesn’t support displays or isn’t performing optimally for your laptop,” Google said in a blog post. “You’ll also be notified if the cable you’re using doesn’t support the powerful USB4/Thunderbolt 3 standards that your Chromebook does.” The new feature comes first to Chromebooks with 11th or 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs that support USB4 or Thunderbolt, according to the blog, “with more devices in the works.”

This is what one of the notifications looks like.
Image: Google

Google is well aware of some of the challenges posed by USB-C cables, with employee Benson Leung causing a stir with his tests and reviews of USB-C cables, including one that destroyed his Chromebook Pixel. The situation has improved since then, but it can still be difficult to know exactly which USB-C cable does what, so this new notification from Google is a welcome addition to its Chromebooks, and unsurprisingly, thanks to Benson and the rest of the team

The new update also includes a few extra features. Google is updating the split screen magnifier to allow you to reduce the magnified portion of the screen, so you can choose whether you want to see more or less of the zoomed area. Here’s a GIF from Google showing how that works:


The company is also rolling out its Cursive handwriting app to all Chromebooks that support styluses.

Update May 27, 3 p.m. ET: Added tweet from Benson Leung.

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