chromebook

Soon You Might Sign In to Your Chromebook Using a USB Stick, A Watch or Something Else Entirely

December 12, 2013 - Written By Tom Dawson

Google’s Chrome OS is taking off and while they’re certainly nowhere near where Google wants them to be, they’re taking over the sub-$300 laptop market for good reason. After all, it’s difficult to get a laptop as good as Google’s current offerings such as the Acer C720 and the HP Chromebook 14 running Windows. If all you want to do with a laptop is get online, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a Chromebook. I have a Cr-48, a Samsung Chromebook and now the Acer C720 and I love them all. Of course, I don’t use them all the time, I have a plush desk and a gaming rig for everything else.

No matter how convenient a Chromebook is with its speed and ease of use, there’s one niggle that remains; the password. Passwords are important things in our lives, no more so than today. However, to get into your own Chromebook you need your password, and for some people that can be an annoyance. Having to sign-in every time you open the lid is a little annoying but, there could be a solution to this annoyance lying ahead. As The Next Web is reporting, the infamous Fran§ois Beaufort came across a new Chrome API proposal in the Chromium code called “chrome.screenlockPrivate”. There’s a short and sweet description of possible use cases for the API listed in this Google Doc but, in a nutshell it could lead to:

Use cases
A platform app may use the USB, NFC, and/or Bluetooth APIs to communicate with a secondary trusted device such as a phone, ring, watch, or badge, thereby allowing that trusted device to serve as an alternative form of authentication for the user.

How would you implement your desired features if this API didn’t exist?
The entire app might need to be implemented in C++ in Chrome. The app may implement other features besides screen unlocking, and may be unable to safely share control of USB devices with Chrome.

When I’m on the road with my Chromebook, I’ll often use my Nexus 5 in conjunction, bringing the two together as a team. My Nexus 5 will handle notifications while my Chromebook keeps me writing. Having an NFC sticker applied to a phone case or something to unlock my Chromebook would be a great use case for someone like me and if it would make signing me out when I close the lid to make sure everything is secure easier, then so be it. Obviously, something this is a long way off as Chromium code takes a little while to get into Chrome itself but, there’s hope when it comes to something like this, that’s for sure.