Last July, we uncovered an obscure commit that referenced a new Chromebook feature simply called “off hours.” After some research, I found that this was being developed as a method to remove restrictions on managed devices during specific hours that could be set and managed via Chrome’s Admin Console.
We haven’t seen or heard much else about the “off hours” feature over the past year until today that is. Our good friend John Sowash shot me a message earlier today with a screenshot that looked like the image below.
John told me that he just noticed this in his Admin Console today so, I headed to admin.google.com myself to find the feature right there in black and white. Neither of us are sure when the “off hours” feature was added and after some digging around The Keyword and the GSuite updates blog, I’m still not sure.
The new option will essentially allow managed Chrome devices, whether educational, enterprise or otherwise, lift the restrictions that required a domain-specific login. I imagine it will also allow for the bypassing of any admin-enforced policies when the feature is enabled.
I was able to find the addition of the “off hours” feature in the Google Support page for managed devices but it didn’t provide much more detail than can be gathered from the Admin Console. I will be reaching out to our contact at the Chrome Enterprise team to see if we can get some more specifics on the new feature.
Will this allow full Chrome OS usage in “off hours?” Will users have access to the Play Store? I don’t know but while we wait for some more answers I will be tinkering with it to see what’s new. Stay tuned.
Special thanks to John Sowash for the tip