When shopping for a brand new Chromebook, one factor we should always all by now be skilled to look out for is its “expiration date,” or the date after which you’ll not obtain updates. It appears Google has discovered a intelligent potential answer to make the tip of OS updates much less of a loss of life sentence on your Chromebook by separating browser updates from Chrome OS updates.
Replace: We’ve now gotten our first take a look at Google’s efforts to let Chromebooks proceed to get browser updates properly previous their “expiration date.”
Each six weeks or so, Google releases an replace for Chrome which we sometimes observe for its enjoyable and thrilling new options. Even in case you don’t care concerning the options, although, it’s necessary to maintain Chrome updated so that you’ve got the newest safety updates to maintain your laptop and data secure whereas searching.
Even on older desktops and Android telephones, it’s straightforward to replace Chrome to maintain the browser safe. Nonetheless, on Chromebooks, the model of your browser is instantly tied to your OS getting updates. This implies as soon as your Chromebook reaches its replace expiration date, your browser will slowly grow to be extra susceptible.
Fortunately, this can be about to vary. Google has been working for a number of months on a brand new venture in Chrome codenamed “LaCrOS,” which we found this week by a new flag being added to chrome://flags.
Assist for the experimental lacros-chrome browser.
This flag is clearly not very descriptive by itself, however after some digging we predict we’ve received a reasonably good concept what’s occurring. First, we seen that the venture was at one level as an alternative referred to as “linux-chrome.” This appeared bizarre, as Chrome OS already has an primarily Linux-based Chrome browser.
So we dug deeper. In a stroke of luck, we discovered a conversation between two developers with two key quotes that kind of clarify precisely what LaCrOS is making an attempt to do. Test it out:
i assumed the purpose of lacros is to ship trunk chrome to previous methods?
For reference, “trunk chrome” right here merely refers to Chrome Canary, which is up to date day by day from the newest code or the “trunk,” as defined in Chrome’s developer documentation. So this quote is saying that LaCrOS is designed to place the most recent attainable Chrome onto an “previous” Chromebook.
From what I perceive, one of many motivations for LaCrOS is that it makes chrome-for-chromeos extra like chrome for different methods, the place we ship a binary for that os constructed like we (browser crew) need, impartial of the toolchain of the os.
Between these two quotes and the previous “linux-chrome” identify, a extra full image is shaped. Google seems to be making an attempt to separate Chrome OS system updates — which carry cool new options like Digital Desks and Fast Solutions — from browser updates by together with a separate set up of Chrome that may be independently up to date.
Replace 9/14: After almost 5 months, LaCrOS has surfaced in a working state on Chrome OS Canary, as noticed by Chrome Unboxed. By enabling the above-mentioned flag in chrome://flags, a brand new “LaCrOS” app will seem in your app checklist, first in gray, then within the typical yellow of Chrome Canary.
Proper-clicking this app’s icon, you may select “New Window” to start out it up. This walks you thru the same old onboarding expertise you’d discover on Chrome for Linux or Home windows, which is sensible contemplating it’s a completely separate browser. As soon as the onboarding is finished, now you can use this LaCrOS browser similar to you’ll use Google Chrome in your Chromebook.
In fact, this browser isn’t but as deeply built-in with Chrome OS as the conventional built-in browser and has another minor oddities. For instance, as an alternative of utilizing the Chrome Canary icon, the browser opens in one other window that makes use of the default penguin icon from Chrome OS’s Linux apps assist. There are additionally some visible variations, just like the scrollbar model and the slight border across the window.
As Chrome OS Canary is at the moment on model 87, absolutely the soonest we may see LaCrOS and its effort to separate Google Chrome browser and Chrome OS updates can be Chrome OS model 87, due in December.
That mentioned, we consider LaCrOS will want much more time in growth, to ensure that this model of Google Chrome might be deeply built-in into Chrome OS and may nonetheless really feel just like the native Chrome OS browser. All of that will require a number of additional weeks or months of growth, which can level to LaCrOS correctly arriving in a later launch, someday subsequent yr.
Which means as soon as your Chromebook has hit its expiration date, you’ll nonetheless have the ability to replace your browser and proceed utilizing the online with the newest safety updates. This may lengthen the safety and usefulness of Chromebooks properly past their regular expiration date.
Clearly, this could be no small enterprise and would require thorough testing earlier than reaching the typical particular person’s Chromebook. Within the early days, this “LaCrOS” model of Chrome will present up side-by-side within the Chrome OS shelf with the everyday Chrome icon. This can assist builders and early testers attempt to discover any variations and/or bugs between them. To differentiate the 2, LaCrOS will initially use the all yellow Chrome Canary icon.
Given this can be a large change and the truth that Google’s Chrome crew is at the moment engaged on an adjusted schedule, it’s too early to say when to count on LaCrOS to probably arrive. If and when it does, although, it’s clear that Chromebook homeowners could have much less to worry when their system’s expiration date arrives.
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