Today was an exciting day for fans of Snagit for Chrome, because TechSmith finally took the beta tag off the screencasting abilities that this app has had for some time now. This is great news for educators, because although there is not a lot of new functionality, the setup procedure is much simpler than it was before.
If you are new to Snagit for Chrome, you should know that it comes as both a Chrome Extension (for capturing screenshots) and a Chrome app (for capturing screencasts and storing the media you create). Both are free, but both are required to be able to capture images and videos.
Because they are Chrome apps, they work on Macs or PCs running the Chrome web browser, as well as on Chromebooks. However, screencast performance is not ideal on some of the earlier Chromebooks with ARM processors, like the original Samsung Chromebook or the HP Chromebook 11. Intel processors deal much better with the demands of screencasting.
To record a screencast, launch the Snagit for Chrome app and click the “+” sign in the top left-hand corner, select the window you want to record, and you will instantly start recording your screen. Once you are done, click Stop Sharing at the bottom of your screen to finish your screencast. Completed videos are stored in the app, but they can also be shared to YouTube.
Snagit for Chrome is quick, simple, and ideal for teachers and students who wish to create good looking screencasts, for free, on a number of different devices. Watch the video below for a quick walkthrough of how it works in practice. For more help and ideas about screencasting on a Chromebook please see 3 Ways to Screencast on a Chromebook.
As part of the Snagit for Chrome Beta testing group, I have had the chance to spend a few days with an early build of TechSmith’s latest product ahead of its official launch on November 19. I also attended a hangout with three of the developers yesterday as they answered questions and gave us a look at what to expect in the future. Here’s what we know so far!
Snagit for Chrome is based on the Snagit app for Windows and Mac that many educators know and love. It comes in the form of an extension and an app. The extension lives in your browser bar with the rest of your Chrome extensions, and is used to take screenshots of whatever you want to capture inside of Chrome. The app is launched as soon as your screenshot is captured and allows you the ability to add annotations or view previous captures.
Annotation tools are a little basic right now, but they do the job, and a text tool is definitely in the works for a future release. Captured screenshots are automatically saved to a folder in your Google Drive called TechSmith, and to a Library view in the app itself. There is a share button in the bottom left of the screen that generates a link for you to share with others so that you don’t need to go to your Drive to get that. You can even go back and edit your annotations and the changes will sync to Google Drive automatically.
What else do you need to know? Snagit for Chrome will work in all instances of the Chrome browser, so that includes Chromebooks too, and it will also be free for all users. Paid upgrades may be available further down the line, but the core tool will always be free. Right now, it does not include the ability to capture video or audio. TechSmith say that there are just too many limitations on Google’s side to allow that to happen right now, but they will add that functionality as soon as it is made available to them. Another limitation right now is the ability to capture the omnibar, tabs and the bookmarks bar. You just can’t do that right now, but that may also be an option in the future.
Speaking of the future, TechSmith has all kinds of great ideas for future implementation, some of which includes the ability to collaborate on a shared screenshot, or the addition of a free draw tool. Better still, they are dying to hear what features educators want to see in future versions of Snagit for Chrome, so you can leave your best ideas over at http://feedback.techsmith.com and get notified when they are approved for inclusion in the next version.
Want to try out the new Snagit for Chrome Beta for yourself? You can! Sign up for the Beta test group right here, and take a look at the video demo below from TechSmith. It includes a lot of great discussion and has questions and answers from educators like me! 🙂 (The demo starts around the 12m 45s mark). Otherwise, the full launch is scheduled for November 19, so mark the date in your calendars!
Overall, I really like Snagit for Chrome. Right now it shares a lot of the same functionality with rival extensions like the Awesome Screenshot tool, but it is the potential of this product that excites me the most. When you have the backing of a company like TechSmith, you know that they will not be resting on their laurels. New features will be arriving thick and fast, and Snagit for Chrome will get better and better as time goes on.