Biometric security is coming to ChromeOS now, keeping the operating system up to date with other OS giants like Windows and MacOS.
Fingerprint scanning for unlocking the Chromebook has been made available in the form of a feature called “Quick Unlock”. This particular feature came about on the latest release of the firmware – version 58.0.3007.0. Users can now access the same by heading to chrome://flags. Once this setting has been activated, the user can sign in using their fingerprint, so long as they are logged in.
Just like regular Android devices, users can save up to five fingerprints. According to a report by Venture Beat, the latest build which features this addition is the Canary build of ChromeOS. Up until now, MacOS had the upper hand of having a seamless integration with biometrics, and Windows Hello became a thing. It didn’t take long before the fledgling ChromeOS caught up to its superiors. This update, although very effective, has not yet been fully integrated into the hardware. There has not been a single Chromebook released and available that supports fingerprint scanning. This means that only the Chromebooks which release after today will probably get to have that functionality. Adopters of the Chrome ecosystem will have to wait a while before the next Chromebook with a fingerprint scanner is released.
Before this update, on the security front, Google had enabled the function of allowing for Bluetooth authentication through a smartphone way back in 2015. This opens up the field for ChromeOS’s fingerprint technology as it can provide for other security features such as online payments through fingerprint verification and multiple user authentication as well, among other things. Now that the software has gotten the ability to include fingerprint scanning, it is difficult to say how existing Chromebooks will be able to take advantage of the new feature. Whether any compatible peripherals will be available or not has not been explored yet. Hopefully, Chromebook makers will have gotten the memo about this soon enough.
Why this additional feature has not been celebrated by Google so far is because it had already made its way into the Dev channel of Chrome, making it unofficially available since February 14. But the actual release of Chrome 58, coming in April will provide for better stability and more unionized release across all Chromebooks.
Currently, there is news of just one Chromebook coming out with its own fingerprint scanner – which could be the next Chromebook Pixel. Chromebook’s earlier update which allowed for Android apps to work on the operating system did not end well for users, or the platform. Hopefully, those bugs will be squashed in future updates.
Right now, Chrome has done the catching up, all it needs to do, is keep the pace.