Chrome OS will support managing Android apps for child accounts in the future
Google’s Chrome OS has really taken off in the education sector thanks to the simplicity of the OS as well as an abundance of affordable Chromebooks in the market. As Chrome OS becomes more popular with students and families, we’re starting to see Google take Chrome OS in a new direction: tablets. If these new tablet products really take off, then we’ll see an explosion of them in households around the world.
In preparation, Google has been working behind-the-scenes to revamp their parental management features. A new commit on the Chromium gerrit reveals that part of this effort involves finally allowing child accounts to be able to use installed Android apps with supervision.
“ARC” is Google App Runtime for Chrome, which was a compatibility layer allowing for Android apps to run on Chrome OS. It has since been replaced with ARC++, which is the system now widely used that allows for running Android apps without requiring modifications to most apps. This commit states that “ARC” is being activated for testing on child accounts, which was previously not possible with supervised accounts.
Furthermore, a comment mentions that the experiment is intentionally made difficult to access until Google finishes “the supervision implementation.” This tells us that Google plans on allowing the usage of Android apps on supervised accounts to be managed. A feature such as this would be a welcome addition to Chrome OS, especially as more families migrate to the ecosystem and as more tablets with the OS are released.
Unfortunately, there’s no word on when this new supervision feature will roll out. Google deprecated the supervised users feature back in January, and instead pointed users towards using Family Link which doesn’t actually work on Chromebooks. Thus, parents looking to give their children a Chromebook or the new Acer tablet will have to find alternative parental control software until Google’s is complete.
Feature Image: Now-Deprecated Supervised User Feature in Chrome OS