About a month ago we wrote about a new feature in Chrome OS that did a great job of helping to merge the user experience of Android on Chrome OS. This feature was simple and implemented quite well, but was missing a key component that, at the time, kept if from being a real game-changer. That feature was the new Account Manager in Chrome OS and, as of today, that little hiccup in the user flow is now fixed.
As a quick recap of that article, the new Account Manager in the settings of Chrome OS now offers users a unified account experience regardless of what type of app or service they are using. The idea is, if you add a Google account to your Chromebook for any purpose, you’ll now add it via this service and be able to manage those accounts in the same, single space.
The problem with it at the time was the inability to leverage the new service when adding a Google account via an Android app. For example, if I previously tried to log into Gmail in a Chrome tab, I was prompted to use the universal Google sign-in via the new Account Manager for the Chromebook so that the account could be leveraged with any Google service in the future after being added there. Once added, I could use this account to log into an Android app without having to re-enter my credentials, just as I would expect to.
Sadly, it didn’t work the other way around. Say, for instance, I logged into the Google Analytics Android app and had not added the Google account associated with that app previously on the Chromebook. The app would prompt a login screen that belonged only to Android and, though I could log in and use the app, that login info would only be saved for later use on other Android apps and not on anything for Chrome OS. It was very confusing for users to say the least.
With this latest change, we’re finally getting a single place to log into Google accounts that work on any app or service across your entire Chromebook. We had a Chromium developer reach out and notify us that the Account Manager for Chrome OS is now able to handle accounts added via Chrome OS or Android, and we’ve verified this change is now live in the Stable Channel of Chrome OS 77. Now, whether users log in and add accounts via Android apps or Chrome OS web services, those accounts get stored on the device and are able to be leveraged across all Google services.
I cannot overstate how much more native this makes Android feel on Chrome OS. Though new users will never know the confusion of logging into Google accounts on both the Android and Chrome OS sides of things, those of us who’ve been around a bit know just how odd that entire setup was and can all be grateful that it is no longer an issue that has to be dealt with for any users.