Chromebooks could get 'unlock by phone' feature

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.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

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.

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