Chrome OS' upcoming "Easy Unlock" feature makes an appearance in the latest dev build

Chrome OS is expected to get an "Easy Unlock" feature as Google has rolled out an early test version in the developer preview of the portable operating system.

The currently non-functional feature, which was spotted by Android Police in one of the latest developer builds of the Chrome OS, will allow users to unlock their devices such as the Chromebook by simply placing their smartphone nearby. As the picture suggests, there is no need for a password so we can expect the feature to use a wireless connection and geo-location data from the paired smartphone to unlock the device in proximity.

In its current state, "Easy Unlock" is disabled by default, however, enabling it does nothing more than showing a pop-up notification at startup to use the smartphone for unlocking. While there is no way to setup the functionality at the moment, Android Police believes that a companion Android app may be in development stages to complete the feature.

Google has tried out different ways for unlocking Android smartphones such as pattern and face unlock but has relied on standard password based lockscreen for the Chrome operating system. It will be interesting to see how the "Easy Unlock" feature works out as other methods have had their share of loopholes.

Source: Android Police | Image via Android Police

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I remember a friend of mine using this with his Symbian Nokia and Ubuntu back in 2007. I believe the program used Bluetooth to figure out if the phone is near.

Syanide said,
I remember a friend of mine using this with his Symbian Nokia and Ubuntu back in 2007. I believe the program used Bluetooth to figure out if the phone is near.

Yeah, I've been doing that with my Ubuntu laptop for a few years now too.

Audien said,
Came up with this idea 2 years ago. Wonder why it's taken so long for someone to actually implement it.

It's been around longer than that. I've seen similar ideas on Windows back around 2009 or so, and that probably wasn't the first either.

I'd hate to keep Bluetooth turned on continuously and have it drain the battery just for this minor convenience though.

Romero said,
I'd hate to keep Bluetooth turned on continuously and have it drain the battery just for this minor convenience though.

If I don't keep it always on I always forget to activate it when I get in the car :D

No doubt this will be limited to Android phones and so the process of locking people into the Google ecosystem continues. If this were Microsoft they would have had an antitrust investigation started against them yesterday.

Don't get scroogled people.. make up your own minds

You make absolutely no sense. I don't know how you can link a feature like this to anything antitrust related.

paulheu said,
No doubt this will be limited to Android phones and so the process of locking people into the Google ecosystem continues.

No doubt? It'll most likely just use Bluetooth to detect mobile proximity, same as using the BlueProximity app on Linux (which has been available for years BTW).

"allow users to unlock their devices such as the Chromebook by simply placing their smartphone nearby."

Thieves are going to love this feature.

Yea first thing I thought too. Sounds convenient as hell, and personally don't care for Chromebooks anyway, but I certainly wouldn't enable something like that on a laptop that could contain sensitive data. No need to hack anymore, just nab the phone and you're good to go. At least it's disabled by default so it's on you if the thing gets stolen.

I guess you should be able to enable it only when it's actually convenient.

I was using that about four years ago while working at a customer office, it was far more convenient than locking and unlocking the laptop every five minutes (it also locked it when I moved away). Then again no one there would have probably figured out that it was being unlocked by the proximity of my phone.

If this also uses Bluetooth maybe you could configure it to use something like a keychain instead of a phone. It doesn't have to be obvious since you don't have to manipulate the Bluetooth device to unlock the laptop.