Google has has added third-party docking stations to its line-up of peripherals under its "Works With Chromebook" certification program.
There are new certified docking stations from Targus, Hyper, Acer, Belkin, and StarTech.com with more to come, according to Google.
Google launched its Works With Chromebook program in March 2020 for a variety of accessories, such as chargers, cables, headsets, keyboards, webcams and mice. It tests them to ensure they comply with Chromebook's compatibility standards.
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Now the program includes docking stations, which Google thinks will be useful for employees returning to hybrid work arrangements, like Google is experimenting with as COVID-19 vaccine jabs roll out more broadly.
Google said this week that it expects 20% of its employees to work from home but thinks most employees will spend about three days in the office and two days "wherever they work best", according to a blogpost about how Chrome OS is helping develop Google's return-to-office plan.
Google told ZDNet it expects around 60% of its roughly 130,000 employees to meet with their teams in the office a few days a week. It expects another 20% to work from different office locations, while 20% are expected to work from home.
Security has become a bigger issue for employees using devices at home that aren't connected to the corporate network and might not get the latest security patches.
Google says the new docking stations will get automatic firmware updates with Chrome OS updates.
Larger certified docks will be able to connect three external displays via HDMI, DP or USB-C, while smaller docks can connect to one external HDMI display. Google notes that these certified docks are also compatible with Windows and Macs.
"When you see the Works With Chromebook badge on peripherals, you can be confident that they have been tested and validated to work seamlessly with current and future Chrome OS devices," said Kevin Ngo, a program manager for the Works With Chromebook program.
A five-port hub from Hyper will be available in August for $79.99. It includes an HDMI 4K30Hz connection, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB-A ports, and a USB-C PD port with 60W of power.