chromebookremotewipeFrancois Beaufort

Google hints at remote wipe, lock and locate features for Chromebooks

Losing a Chromebook could be less troublesome in the future with the addition of remote device management tools.

Signs of remote wipe, lock and locate features for Chrome OS have appeared in the latest dev channel version, according to Francois Beaufort. You can see these options by running Chrome with the experimental command line switch “--enable-consumer-management.”

Unfortunately, these features don't actually work right now, so it's not worth the trouble of setting them up. There's also no guarantee that Google will even add remote device management tools in future stable versions of Chrome OS.

Still, it's not hard to imagine Google adding Chromebooks to the device manager tools that are already available for Android.

Unlike a full-blown desktop operating system, such as Windows or Mac OS X, Chrome OS is designed for users to store most of their files and data online, or to offload them to another device. Chromebook users may be less hesitant to remotely wipe a lost machine, since most or all of their files aren't actually stored on the device. At the same time, they'll be able to protect against someone having access to their online accounts and data. And while not all Chromebooks have GPS on board, remote locate would be helpful for the handful of 3G and 4G Chromebooks on the market.

The hints of remote device management in Chrome OS come just a month after Android Police discovered a possible “ Easy Unlock” feature in the Chrome dev channel last month. This feature is also dormant for now, but it could allow users to skip the password entry screen when the Chromebook is paired with another device, such as the user's smartphone. These security features, along with the addition of more offline apps and services, could help shake Chromebooks' reputation of being nothing more than a web browser.

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