Android Police has spotted a new feature in the Chrome OS dev channel that could one day allow users to unlock devices running Chrome OS by simply having their phone near the computer. The feature, which is still in a very early beta, is dubbed “Easy Unlock.” With this feature, your Chromebook could sense when your phone is nearby and Easy Unlock would automatically unlock the Chromebook, preventing the need to enter your password.

Within the Chrome OS dev channel, the feature is disabled by default, but you can enable it by going to chrome://flags/#enable-easy-unlock. After rebooting, a new notification will appear asking if you would like to enable Easy Unlock. Unfortunately, that’s where it all comes to an end. After clicking the setup button, you’re taken to a screen, with three pages, that looks like it is searching for your device. But it just keeps searching and never finds anything and trying to swipe to the next page doesn’t do anything.

The feature also appears in the Chrome browser dev channel, but after clicking the setup button, you’re presented with the same non-functional window.

Easy Unlock appears to be very similar to the Knock app on Mac OS X, which senses when your iPhone is nearby and can automatically unlock your Mac. Given that Easy Unlock is still non-functioning, we have a long wait ahead of us before a stable release. But the concept alone is very cool.

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2 Responses to “‘Easy Unlock’ feature could soon come to Chrome OS, automatically unlocks your Chromebook if your phone is nearby”

  1. While Google’s approach using proximity of your phone does seem easer then passwords, it unfortunately doesn’t eliminate many of the risks people face with passwords. One of the rapidly growing markets for easy to use authentication is On-line Gaming, where it’s really important to know if it’s the registered parent placing a wager or their 13yr old child. Unfortunately, you leave your phone by your chrome book and you’re authenticated as the parent, regardless of who’s actually using the computer.

    Similarly for financial transactions, like in-app purchases, which may be tied to your system userid, this method doesn’t eliminate the kinds of problems that led to Apple being sued.

    Interestingly, Google has worked with Samsung to integrate biometric authentication into some of their newer products. Biometrics, provide a authentication factor that, when properly implemented, can uniquely identify a individual and be very easy to use.

    For an example of strong authentication that’s just as easy to use – look at VerifyMe –

  2. I hope it will not be an obligatory