In early August, we uncovered work being done to overhaul the OOBE (out of box experience) setup screen for Chrome OS. According to the changes, users will soon be presented with the option of logging in with their own account or a child’s account. The big change here is the user flow. Instead of a single login screen, the OOBE would present the specific option to not only use a child account but to set up a new child account during the OOBE. I expected these changes to take a few months to show themselves but it looks like developers have already merged the new OOBE screen to the Canary channel of Chrome OS. A recent update to the Canary channel implemented the update and we’ve thrown together a quick video to show you what the new user flow will look like.
While the changes are mostly aesthetic, they speak volumes to Google’s desire to make Chrome OS a serious choice for consumers. With so many students and employees adopting Chromebooks over the past few months, countless users have been faced with the daunting task of learning their way around the unfamiliar territory of Chrome OS. The remote worker runs out and buys a Chromebook to handle Zoom meetings and they have no idea how to set it up. A parent grabs a new Chrome OS device for the student that is now learning from home and they aren’t given any visual clues about how to create a child’s account that can be managed with Family Link. This new feature will remedy all of that. Check it out.
Note: In the video, I stated that you cannot create a new child account from the OOBE screen on a Chromebook at this time. I was mistaken. You can create an account but there is no guidance that you are setting up a child’s account. It isn’t until you input a birth date that Google prompts you to link an adult’s account. This upcoming change to the login screen makes it very clear to a new user that you are setting up a new child account.
As you can see in the video, the new “out of the box” screen has drastically changed in Chrome OS 87. Users will now be shown a clear-cut path of how to log in with their own account but more importantly, how to create an account for a child. During the setup process, you will be offered the opportunity to go ahead and set up time limits and management tools just as you would with the Family Link app. You can do all of this in one fell swoop or skip the Family Link controls and set them up later from your phone.
I just want to reiterate my earlier sentiment that this is a huge move by Google. It is clear that Chrome OS is becoming a mainstream OS and that developers want to make it as user-friendly, versatile, and accessible as possible. This is just one of many upcoming changes that will add some much-needed polishing to Chromebooks for the sake of the general consumer. It’s encouraging to see Google’s commit to our beloved operating system and we’re excited to see what’s next.