Chrome OS is getting more features by the day, and now administrators of Chromebooks can lock the devices that use the OS if they are stolen or lost.
The latest Chrome updates add a new layer of security and control for organizations that use the cloud-based devices, including a growing number of schools. IT departments will find it easier to lock down Chromebooks that fall out of their employees’ or students’ hands.
Francois Beaufort, a veteran Google Employee, expressed his optimism via Google Plus:
“Finally! Admins can now place lost or stolen Chrome OS devices in a disabled state right from their web- based management console and display a custom message on the disabled device screens.”
“All the user can see when turning on the Chrome device is a screen telling them that it’s been disabled and your desired contact information of where to return the device.”
Remote disabling from a web-based admin console is not yet available for personal Chrome devices, although Google has unveiled “Smart Lock for Chrome”, which allows the users to sign into or unlock Chromebook with a nearby Android phone.
Beaufort also posted on his blog:
“The Chrome OS Team is thinking about adding a nice new feature called internally (sic) consumer management that will let Google help you remotely lock, erase, and locate your Chrome OS device. Still a “work in progress”, the feature is currently available only through an experimental command line switch.”
Over time, it is expected that Google will continue to add more Android applications and integration for Chrome. In September, 2014, the company released its first four Android apps for the Operating System.
The main purpose is to provide the Chrome users with more Android-like interactive experiences. In addition to being able to sign in to unlock their Chromebooks with their Android phones, users can also enable Chromebook prompts to appear when text messages or phone calls come into their phones.
Other new user features for Google’s Chrome operating system include permission policies for enrolling new or de-provisioned devices and a device list function that supports partial- match searches for serial numbers.
Chromebooks are being adopted rapidly by schools and are expected to be used increasingly by businesses. Chromebooks still remain largely a niche product, with sales of around 5.2 million units in 2014 compared to laptop and PC sales of over 300 million.