Google has just rolled-out a long-awaited update to Chrome OS that will allow administrators to disable devices in the event that they're stolen. This kind of security feature isn't new, of course, and even Google's Android platform has supported it for a while. But as it's been missing on Chrome OS, Chromebook adoption could have been a little stifled -- at least on the enterprise side of things.
Google's Chromium evangelist François Beaufort reports, "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.".
The keyword in that statement is "Admins", as this feature will only affect Chromebooks sold in the business and education sectors. It's a little strange that consumer Chromebooks would be left unaffected, so we hope that Google will roll out an update for those devices at a later date.
Once a Chromebook is deemed missing, its administrator can log into the Web management tool and select an option to disable it. That's standard fare; what makes this particular version cool is that the admin has the ability to issue a custom error, along with an address for the sake of returning it. It's hard to imagine most thieves returning locked-down Chromebooks to their rightful owners, but perhaps a personal message might strike the right chord with some. We could hope, anyway.