Chromebooks could get 'unlock by phone' feature

Summary:Google software engineers are working on an update for Chrome OS that would allow users to unlock the OS using a phone, watch or other electronic devices.

Google is working on technology that could allow Chromebook owners to unlock their computer using their phone.

Google software engineers are developing the API, called chrome.screenlockPrivate, for Chrome OS — the Linux-based operating system used on Chromebooks.

The interface would allow devices to authenticate the user and unlock the OS over USB, NFC or Bluetooth.

By removing the need to enter a password to unlock a device, Google engineers are hoping to improve the security of machines running Chrome OS, reasoning that more people are likely to lock their computer if unlocking it is simple.

The software interface would allow Chromebook users to unlock their machine without having to key in a password and instead use a phone or other trusted electronic device, such as a watch or badge.

Users would unlock their machine via a simple gesture, for instance tapping a badge against an NFC-enabled reader or pressing a button on a Bluetooth watch.

The API is in development, aiming for a stable version by 25 February next year.

Further reading

Topics: Hardware


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.