How to use the Screencast app for ChromeOS


Record your screen and webcam, draw on the screen, edit the auto-generated transcript, then share a link with others who use the Screencast app.

Image: Andy Wolber

The screenshot app, included with ChromeOS version 103, includes the ability to simultaneously record your screen, audio from your microphone, and video from your webcam. While recording, you can use the marker tool to draw on your screen. When you stop recording, the system saves the recording to a Screencasts folder on Google Drive and starts the process of automatically generating a transcript. You can view the recording in the app and then generate a link to share with others who use the Screencast app on ChromeOS. It is a useful tool for anyone who wants to record and share videos on a Chromebook.

SEE: Better tab handling in ChromeOS, thanks to desktops (TechRepublic)

To use the Screencast app, make sure your Chromebook is updated to version 103: click the lower right corner, where the time usually appears, and choose Settings > About ChromeOS > Scan for updates. To access the app, select the ChromeOS launcher, then search for Screencast. Select the application icon to start it.

Record your screen and webcam

Select the + New Screencast button. An overlay menu appears, as shown in Figure Afrom which you can adjust the audio and video settings for your screencast.

You can choose to:

  • Record in full screen;
  • Record partial screen (i.e. select a rectangular part of the screen to record); Where
  • Registration window.

Select the settings icon to choose a microphone or camera (for example, Off or Front camera).

Chromebook open with Screencast open on it
Figure A: After selecting the + New screencast button, you can configure whether you want to record the full or partial screen or a window.

When the front camera is active, the webcam image is displayed in a circle. You can click/tap the circle and then drag it to any of the four corners of your Chromebook screen. Additionally, you can click the two arrows in the webcam circle to switch between a small or large size.

Once recording has started, a short countdown is displayed. When saving, a red square within a circle appears in the Chromebook shelf, next to a marker icon.

Draw on the screen

While recording, select the marker icon, then you can draw on the screen, as shown in Figure B. A long press (or, on a touchpad, a two-finger press) on the marker icon gives you access to a palette of four marker colors to choose from: magenta, blue, yellow or red. To erase your marks, click the marker icon to turn it off, or double-tap on a touchscreen (or, on a trackpad, tap two fingers). You can resume standard browser navigation and controls when exiting marker mode.

Screenshot options with the SCRENCAST app written in red on it
Figure B: While recording your screencast, select the marker tool (bottom right) and draw on the screen. In this example, the arrows and the words “Screencast app” were all drawn with the marker tool on a touchscreen Chromebook during a screencast recording.

Access and edit the auto-generated transcript

To end the recording, select the red square in the circle icon. The system then starts transferring your recording to Google Drive and also starts the automatic transcription process.

Wait for the Processing… indicator to appear on your recording thumbnail. Processing time may vary depending on the speed of your internet connection and the length of your recording. When finished, select your screencast to open it.

The auto-generated transcript appears on the right side of your screen, as shown in Figure C. Select the kebab menu to the right of any transcript section to access text editing options or choose to skip the section while reading. Screencast viewers can choose to translate the text of the transcript into another language.

A recording using Screencast with options on the right side of the screen
Figure C: Google’s ChromeOS Screencast app automatically generates transcripts for your recorded screencast session. You can edit the transcript, if you wish.

Share a link

To generate a link to the Screencast, select the blue Share button in the top right. You may be prompted to name your Screencast. Adjust the sharing options as desired (Figure D) and select Copy link. Then switch to another app (eg Google Chat, Spaces, Gmail, or Google Doc) to paste the link into a message or document. Anyone attempting to follow the link will need to do so on a ChromeOS device with the Screencast app available. People on other systems or without access to the Screencast app will get a “Cannot view on this device” message.

Sharing options for Screencast app
Figure D: From an open screencast, select Share to generate a link to your recording. As of July 2022, only people using the Screencast app on ChromeOS can view your shared screencast.

The screencast file is saved in WebM format. If you want, you can make a copy of the file and share it with all standard Google Drive sharing features. You can also use various tools to convert and edit this WebM file into other video formats.

What is your experience with the ChromeOS Screencast app?

In early July 2022, I discovered that the Screencast app was only available on my Chromebook when I logged in with my personal Gmail account. When I signed into ChromeOS with two different paid Google Workspace accounts, I could use the built-in features to record my screen and webcam, but the Screencast app, along with the Marker, Transcribe, and Sharing system, didn’t work. were not yet available to my organization. accounts. If you’re using an account managed by a Google Workspace admin, you may need to wait for Google and your Workspace admin to make the Screencast app available.

For me, the Screencast app reminds me a bit of the very early days of Google Classroom. It looks like a useful and interesting app that takes advantage of the strengths of Chrome and Google Drive. At the same time, the sheer number of obvious opportunities to make the app more useful and comprehensive is easy to imagine.

What do you think of the ChromeOS Screencast app? Does the app replace an existing tool you used to create and share screencasts? How do the features and functionality meet your needs and expectations? For what type of content do you most often use screencasts?

Mention me or send me a message on Twitter (@awolber) to let me know about your experience with the Screencast app.


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