Chrome OS users may soon be able to move between Chromebooks or other gadgets much more easily thanks to a new Wi-Fi syncing password that's currently being tested behind a Chromium flag setting for the platform. Spotted by 9to5Google, the flag — labeled "Sync Wi-Fi network configurations" — does exactly what its designation implies. It enabled syncing of Wi-Fi configurations and passwords to a Google account across Chrome OS logins.
Saving more through a powerwash or device transfer …maybe
The most obvious use for a Wi-Fi configuration syncing feature on the consumer side would apply to business or school implementations. In those circumstances, utilizing syncing would mean that students or workers can move from one Chrome OS device to a completely different one and not need to undergo the process of signing into all of the Wi-Fi networks they might need all over again.
The process would require users to sign into their Google account on an active network in order to gain any secondary Wi-Fi passwords, based on an initial look at the feature. But that would still save effort for users on the move. It might also prove useful for those who spend time on multiple Wi-Fi networks when a powerwash — a complete factory reset — is required since only one password would need to be input to start back up.
Now, it's worth noting that Google has noted the flag is meant to "gate" Wi-Fi sync for Chrome OS, according to the Chromium repository comments.
That could mean any number of things but the use of the word 'gated' in terms of software typically means that something is only going to be available for a select handful of users who meet some form of criteria to access it. So it may not ever arrive for the general user base or Google could only be locking it down for use by predetermined test users for now.
Some speculation on the matter
Delving more speculatively into the feature, comments in the commit make mention of possible plans to possibly bring a similar feature related to Chrome OS's impending Wi-Fi syncing to Android.
The search giant recently revealed that some Android handsets can now be used as a wireless, close-range physical security key to make Chrome OS logins more secure. If Google could tie into that feature with Wi-Fi credential syncing one at some point in the future, users may not need to put in any password at all beyond the one for their Google account. Their Wi-Fi passwords and similar credentials may be able to sync over at the same time.
That scenario is even less likely than Google finalizing the Wi-Fi syncing feature for Chrome OS any time soon but isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility. At very least, the hinted change coming to Android would mean that linking up a Google account and regaining all stored Wi-Fi passwords from a previous device will be much easier.
The Wi-Fi syncing password in question is still in its earliest test phases and hasn't made any appearances in changelogs for impending updates. That means that the earliest it might arrive is in Chrome 77, which will arrive in late August at the earliest based on Google's past history with updates and the schedule for known incoming updates.