Google to expand extension support for managed Chromebooks in future update

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Chromebooks have been the devices of choice for kids and the education market in general for some time now, but the sudden influx of users and use cases due to the Covid-19 outbreak has called new attention to the strict restrictions surrounding a Chromebook being managed by Google's Family Link.

Specifically, the inability to install virtually any extensions onto Family Link-managed Chromebooks, something Google alleviated slightly this month with Chrome OS 80 allowing a handful of new approved extensions like Zoom and Hangouts, but a future update will open the parentally controlled floodgates and allow you to install any extension (via AndroidPolice).

A child will be able to view the full Chrome Web Store and request the extensions that they would like to install, but under the current implementation, they need a parent to enter their password on the Chromebook locally in order to approve the request. That's something that could certainly change by the time it makes it to the stable channel for the planned May 26th release of Chrome OS 83.

Unfortunately, this is going to come with little time left in the school year for most students, but it's an important update for home and school use that will allow parents to enable expanded usage for older children while still retaining Family Link controls.

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.