In light of recent events that have driven many of us into our homes, Google recently added the ability to install a handful of extensions on Chromebooks that are managed by Family Link. This has been especially beneficial for students needing to leverage platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom while participating in distance learning. While this feature was and still is a much-needed addition during this time of social distancing, the ability to managed a wider range of installations from the Chrome Web Store is something that many Family Link account managers would love to have.
It appears that Google agrees and that exact ability should soon be rolling out to Chrome OS users that manage their kid’s devices with Family Link. First spotted by Android Police, Chrome OS 83 and beyond has added the ability to request the installation of extensions on managed Family Link accounts. Currently, Chrome OS is on version 81 so this update may seem a ways off but remember that Chrome OS 82 has been scrapped and version 83 is actually slated for release at the end of May.
Chrome OS 83 is now in the Beta channel so I spent a few minutes this morning testing out the new feature using my daughter’s managed account. When a child navigates to the Chrome Web Store and attempts to install an extension, they will be greeted with the familiar “ask a parent” notification. Once they request access, a list of Family Link managers will pop up and the parent can then enter a password to approve the installation.
Presumably, this feature will roll over into the Family Link app and will work just as it does with Android apps that allow remote approval from the Family Link manager’s mobile device. Now that supervised users are no more and Family Link is the go-to tool for managing kids’ Chromebooks, this will be an important update to the Family Link platform. This will allow kids to have access to more tools while giving parents peace of mind when letting their kids on the web.