Google wants you to reconsider how you record screen on your Chromebook, particularly in classroom and education scenarios.
Screencast, a new system app in ChromeOS 103, can take what you record on your screen to a newer, more interactive level in more ways than one.
We’ve been testing the feature in ChromeOS’ Canary channel ahead of launch, and we spoke with Andy Russell, Google’s group product manager, about Screencast and how it can help students reach their full potential.
You’re probably familiar with ChromeOS’s existing screen-recorder tools. Select what you want to record by pressing the Ctrl, Alt, and Window keys on your keyboard. You can then share that recording by manually uploading it to a cloud service, such as Google Drive.
Screencast now performs three new core functions on a Chromebook that would have previously required a third-party app (or multiple apps). It will record you via your webcam feed in addition to the usual video recording. It also lets you annotate on the screen while recording and will transcribe what’s going on for you. That is the magic Google seeks.
However, there is another aspect to the Screencast app. Your recording will also be automatically uploaded to Google Drive for easy sharing. This ensures that your recording reaches the people who require it or is posted in the appropriate location. There’s also an editing component to it, which we’ll discuss later.
Then, in the system tray, click the pen icon to ink up and annotate on your screen to demonstrate what you’re working on. You’ll even be able to move your webcam feed around the screen as you see fit so it doesn’t interfere with your recording. After a short period of time, as well as when you stop recording, it will automatically process and upload to Google Drive.
Another cool feature of Screencast is the transcript feature. You’ll get a readout of what you said during the recording with it. For students, teachers, and parents, this is a game changer.
That transcript feature can assist you in navigating a lengthy screen recording. You’ll see a readout of whatever was said during recording, and you can skip ahead to that point in the video by skimming the text. It functions similarly to Google’s Recorder app on Pixel phones.
This feature may mean skipping 20 minutes of a screen recording of a lesson to get to a specific moment in a specific session for teachers, students, or parents. You’ll also be able to translate the transcript into a foreign language for sharing if you speak multiple languages. Simply select your preferred language from the drop-down menu.
The transcript also allows you to cut screen recordings. While Google claims that Screencast isn’t a full-fledged video editor, it will allow you to take a long recording and trim it down by simply clicking on a passage. That will isolate that section of the video so that when it is shared, it will simply skip over it in the final recording.
Google has a reputation for resolving issues with its products, so we were curious as to why Screencast was being released. According to Russell, it comes at a time when video is increasingly important in the classroom and is related to Chromebooks in general.
He tells us that Google has noticed a shift in recent years in which teachers are teaching from their computers and students are bringing their computers to and from school. It also applies to guardians who want to see what their child learned in class or even a recording of it. That is where screencast comes in.
Because Screencast will be built into ChromeOS, our conversation with Google concluded with a discussion of Screencast’s potential applications outside of education. We inquired about how podcasters, content creators, and gamers could use Screencast. After all, the app can record a webcam feed and allow you to highlight objects on the screen.