Google Creeps Into the Kiosk Space with Chromebooks and Chromeboxes

Google’s Chromebook and Chromebox devices offer an interesting if not quite fully satisfying desktop experience, but perhaps the computers and their Chrome OS have found their true calling as public kiosks. Google announced a new Managed Public Sessions feature for the devices that allows companies (or organizations such as libraries) to set up and manage Chrome OS devices that give patrons a unique experience.

Google believes that its built-in security features will keep cyber-nastiness away, and because of the design of the platform, Managed Public Sessions don’t require a login; instead, once a user’s session ends, all of that session’s data is wiped clean.

Managed Public Session

Google offers up some suggestions for how one could use Chromebooks/boxes as kiosks in a variety of settings:

-Order out-of-stock items online while at a retail store
-Search for books and browse the web at the library
-Update machine and inventory info from the manufacturing floor
-Access the company portal and update HR info from the employee break room
-Catch up on work in a hotel business center

Chrome OS’ business features include a management console so admins can handle any number of the devices easily, including setting default websites and apps, customization and branding, times sessions, and more.

Chromebook Management Console
Chromebook with Management Console open

The company has already been testing Managed Public Sessions with Dillards, the Multnomah Public Library, and the Hyatt in San Francisco, and apparently things have gone well enough for Google to announce the feature publicly. There’s no doubt a team of Google salespeople knocking on doors at this very moment, trying to sell companies and institutions on the idea of a fleet of Chrome OS devices.