Smart Lock for Chrome open to all Chrome OS users

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Prior to today, Smart Lock was only available to users of the Chrome OS Dev Channel. Today, that is no more as the feature is open to any and every Chrome OS user (with a Bluetooth connection). Smart Lock allows Android 5.0 Lollipop devices to unlock nearby Chromebooks seamlessly. The Chrome OS device will recognize the user is already signed in on their phone and bypass the lock screen.


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Google updates Chrome OS to version 40, most changes in the background

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Google has started pushing out an update to the Chrome OS taking it up to version 40. As is usual for an update to a major system like the OS, Google has included a host of bug fixes, security updates and feature enhancements, most of which are under the hood or run in the background. However, users will see a few changes in the look of the desktop on Chrome OS.

The changes that will be most noticeable involve the default wallpaper, which has been updated to reflect a Material Design. If users happen to own more than one Chrome device, the wallpaper, including custom wallpapers, will now be synced across their devices. If users enjoy using emoji in their communications, they will find a new emoji palette has been added to give users quicker access.

If you have a Chrome OS powered device, be on the lookout for the update to be available to you soon.

sources: Chrome Releases Blog

Android development tools could be heading to Chrome OS

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Quite soon, Chrome OS users could have access to Android development tools. An issue posted on the Google Code site reveals that the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) and recovery/flashing tools are working with Chrome OS. The ADB tool allows for data to be sent between devices. Flashing makes it possible to do something like installing a custom ROM on a connected device. The tools would be accessible through the Chrome Shell.

We are not aware of a potential release date since nothing is official.

Source: Chromium
Via: OMG! Chrome!

Google’s working on a feature for Chrome OS that will let you import files from external hard drives

 

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We’ve known for a while now that Google is redesigning the File Manager application within Chrome OS and today some leaked details have appeared online. If a report published by OMG Chrome is anything to go by, it looks like the search engine giant has baked a new ‘Cloud Import’ feature into its latest build of the app.


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You can install custom code on Chrome OS with a USB drive

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Currently, it is possible possible to install and work with custom code (such as Linux) on a Chrome OS device. The entire process of installing custom code is possible but it is not necessarily easy. That all changes because Google is adding Debugging Features for Chrome OS devices in Developer Mode. It means that Chrome OS users will be able to take a USB drive, connect it to the device, and install the custom code.

The following are what will be possible with the new feature:

  • Remove rootfs verification² so you can modify OS files
  • Enable SSH access to the device using the standard test keys so you can use tools such as cros flash³
  • Enable booting from USB so you can install an OS image from a USB drive
  • Set both the dev and the system root login password to a custom value so you can manually SSH into the device

You can access it right now by heading to the Dev Channel and selecting “Enable debugging features.” From there, follow these directions.

Source: +François Beaufort

Chrome OS to get a new file manager with Material Design

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The file manager in Chrome OS is functional, but it’s a little boring. The good news is that it’s going to get a little Material Design love pretty soon.

A number of screenshots are in Google’s official Material Design documentation shows the file manager with a new look. The images could be just examples or they could be for Google Drive, but we can only assume that Google make add some Material Design flare to the file manager since everything will get it eventually and a bug report reveals they are working on it. The new Files icon appears to be ready for Chrome version 42, so Material Design might show up alongside it.


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How To Switch To Dev Channel On Your Chromebook In 3 Simple Steps

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Chrome comes in three different flavors, which we refer to as channels: stable, beta, and dev. Of the three, dev  shorthand for developer  is the most unstable and has a few bugs from time to time. The trade-off is that you get the newest stuff Chrome has to offer before anyone else. These three channels can be used in the regular Chrome browser or in Chrome OS, which is what the Chromebooks use as their operating system. We are obviously going to focus on Chrome OS in the steps I give below.

Disclaimer: Before you get too uncomfortable, please note that none of this should factory reset your device, so switching to the dev channel shouldn’t cause you to lose any of your files on your Chromebook. But, Talk Android nor myself  assume any liability or responsibility for any unexpected or undesired changes that may affect your Chromebook. If you proceed with these steps, it is under your own responsibility and liability.
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Unlock your Chromebook with a device running Android 5.0 Lollipop

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Have an Android 5.0 device and a Chromebook? If so, you can make the two work together seamlessly. A new feature called Smart Lock allows Lollipop devices to unlock a Chromebook when nearby. Smart Lock forgoes the lockscreen in favor of this wireless sign-in method. Only the account connected to both the Lollipop device and Chromebook activates the feature. And, at this time, Smart Lock is not available directly to all Chrome OS users.

Hit the break for directions, but remember that Smart Lock is recommended only for experienced Chrome OS Dev Channel users. Testing items within the Dev Channel can potentially harm the system.


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Acer Chromebook 13 review

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It is hard to come by a laptop at a low price that does not sacrifice quality hardware. There are trade-offs to be made. Even laptops running Windows are not alone in this. When Google launched Chrome OS in 2011, the hardware was pretty bad. It was not until very recently that hardware manufacturers started to build respectable Chromebooks. In time for the holidays, Acer released the Chromebook 13. It combines a simple design with specifications that you would find in a high-end tablet, such as the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, which might make it the most powerful Chromebook ever.

Everything looks good on paper, so how does the Chromebook 13 perform in real life? Hit the break to get started.


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Google giving 1TB of free Drive storage to new Chromebook owners

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We expect Chromebooks to be a very hot item for holiday shoppers this year. The devices running Chrome OS are cheap and the hardware is vastly different than what it once was. The value of a Chromebook just keeps getting and better. And it gets even better now because Google is giving new Chromebook owners free Drive storage. How much? An astounding 1TB for two years. That is nearly $240 that you do not have to spend. It is more than enough space for the average user, that’s for sure.

The offer expires on January 1, 2015. Don’t leave it sitting underneath the Christmas tree for too long!

Source: Google Drive Blog