Chromebooks could get extended lifespan with Google update (report)

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

While the best Chromebooks hold up for a number of years, they eventually stop receiving OS updates. When that happens, the laptops become less and less secure as the built-in Chrome browser is also dependent on those updates for both new features and, more importantly, security patches.

Some digging by 9to5Google into the Chrome code uncovered evidence that Google may be taking a page out of its Android playbook to solve this problem, and dramatically extend the safe and useful life of Chromebooks.

Google is expected to separate out the Chrome browser currently built into Chrome OS and make it a standalone app, exactly as it is on other platforms. This is how Google continues support for Android devices well beyond the date that they stop receiving major OS updates.

The evidence was found by 9to5Google following the discovery of a new flag added to chrome://flags, called "LaCrOS support." This, in turn, led them to a conversation between two developers that mentioned LaCrOS being designed to "make chrome-for-chromeos more like chrome for other systems, where we ship a binary for that os build like we (browser team) want, independent of the toolchain of the os."

To clarify, this would mean that the Chrome browser on your Chromebook would receive regular security and feature updates for presumably years after your Chromebook stops receiving Chrome OS updates.

Chromebooks offer some the best value in laptops; If this change does come to pass, it will be excellent news for Chromebook buyers who will get to enjoy many more years of safe and reliable use.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.