If you are a Chromebook user or plan to be in the future, I likely don’t need to spend too much time telling you how important Wi-Fi connectivity is to the overall Chrome OS experience. As an OS that is built to make the most of the web, Chrome OS clearly operates better when there is a quality data connection running to the machine. Sure, there are offline tasks that can be accomplished on a Chromebook, but these devices were built to be connected to the internet, and this new feature coming to Chrome OS will go a long way towards keeping those connections up and running for users.
Wi-Fi network sync
We talked about the subject of Wi-Fi network syncing between devices connected to your Google Account in the past. As a matter of fact, we’ve seen this feature hinted at for over a year at this point and it feels like we’ve been keeping an eye on this feature flag (chrome://flags/#sync-wifi-configurations) for even longer. In the original version we came across in August of 2019, Google was looking to sync Wi-Fi networks across accounts via account-level paradigms like bookmarks, but that version of Wi-Fi sync never actually made it out of the starting gate.
This new version looks a lot more likely to arrive as it will be utilizing the growing Chromebook/Android integration that is built right into the OS. As part of the existing ‘Connected Devices’ settings (which the upcoming Phone Hub will be a part of as well), this new ability to sync Wi-Fi data between your Chromebook and Android phone will likely use Bluetooth rather than web-based tech to share Wi-Fi settings between the two. We can tell this is the fact by a developer comment in the corresponding commit that clearly states the service will work both ways (sync from Android to Chrome OS and back).
Google has done a pretty good job of keeping your stored Wi-Fi passwords in your Google account for Android phones up to this point. Giving your phone the easy ability to share all those already-configured Wi-Fi connections with your Chromebook would make life a lot simpler for Chrome OS users. Whether its a new device, a recently powerwashed Chromebook, or you just happen to move between a bunch of Chromebooks for work or for fun, the ability to bring along all your Wi-Fi passwords with no additional work will be a big time saver for sure.
This new version of Wi-Fi sync is in the very early stages, so don’t expect to see this for at least a few versions of Chrome OS. I’d imagine we won’t see anything until late in 2020 or maybe in the first quarter of 2021. If it ends up being very high priority, perhaps we could see it sooner, but I’d bet we don’t. When it arrives, though, it will be a great addition to the Chromebook/Android Phone cohesion.