Instant Tethering is now more widely available on Chromebooks.
Google confirmed the expansion of the feature stating that going forward Instant Tethering will be available on an additional fifteen Chromebooks and will work with more than thirty different smartphone models.
This marks a considerable expansion compared to before when Instant Tethering was largely reserved for Google's own hardware solutions, including the Google Pixelbook and Pixel Slate devices on the Chrome OS side, and Pixel and Nexus devices on the phone side.
Google states part of the Chromebook philosophy is to offer a "consistently fast, easy-to-use and secure experience" and the opening up of the Instant Tethering feature to more third-party devices builds on that point by increasing the options a user has to access the internet, and in an as easy-to-do way as possible.
Tethering one device to another to piggyback an internet connection is not exactly a new thing. However, where instant tethering differs is in the instant bit. Instead of having to go through the motions of manually connecting the two devices each time you want to connect to the internet from a dependent device, this feature allows users to very quickly and easily turn on and off the tethering (and by association the internet connection) at will.
Instant Tethering was first announced back in 2017 as a feature to let Nexus and Pixel phones and tablets piggyback off each other.
The feature then became available at the Chromebook level later in the same year when Google unveiled the 2017 Pixelbook Chromebook. Allowing those who invested in the high-priced Chromebook the option to get an internet signal anywhere and everywhere their phone was – providing the phone is able to make a connection to the internet at the time
Now that the service has been expanded to support more Chromebooks, owners of a number of high-profile Chrome OS-powered products will be able to make use of the same benefits, and with the greater phone support, piggyback off a greater number of Android phones from popular brands.
This also represents another example of how Google is looking to harmonize the relationship between Android phones and Chromebooks in general. Not only are they now more symbiotic thanks to features like this one, but Google has made the experience between the two far more universal in recent times.
This was best seen when Google finally took the plunge and begun opening up Android app support to Chromebooks. Similar to the Instant Tethering feature, Android app support also started out with minimal device support but has since grown to include a wide number of devices.
Something Google is now looking to replicate with Instant Tethering.
Providing an individual has a compatible Android phone and Chromebook, getting up and running with Instant Tethering is fairly simple. The two devices will need to have been initially connected to permit the interchange going forward and both will need to be operating under the same Google account.
From then on, each time a user is in a location where there's no internet connection available, a notification should show up on the Chromebook advising that the user can connect to their Android phone to access the internet. Then it is just a matter of hitting the "Connect" button – as shown in the image above.