17
Apr
EasyUnlock-Thumb

A new feature has snuck into the Chrome OS dev channel that, while not yet fully baked (okay, it's still mostly a block of ice), could one day allow users to unlock their Chromebooks automatically just by having their phone in close proximity. This feature is "Easy Unlock."

EasyUnlock1

The feature is disabled by default, but people running on the dev channel can enable it at chrome://flags/#enable-easy-unlock.

EasyUnlock2

After restarting, Chrome OS will toss up a notification with the option to enable the feature. Clicking on it will bring up a window with an introduction.

EasyUnlock3

Unfortunately, that's where the excitement ends. Though the window indicates that it has three pages, nothing happens when trying to swipe away from the first one. When I click on the "Find your phone" button, the window appears to start searching, but nothing happens.

EasyUnlock4

Aside from this, the feature shows up under Chrome settings, but clicking the button there just brings up this same non-functional window.

EasyUnlock5

That appears to be it for now. There's a chance the feature is looking for an Android app that isn't yet available. Regardless, this is definitely a feature to watch.

Here are two code commits relevant to the functionality that's already present.

Thanks, Kenji.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • MaroonMushroom

    Hopefully both of your devices don't get stolen at the same time

    • ɳḁụkỏføx

      This.

  • ProductFRED

    What if you're in a coffee shop and your laptop is stolen? Because you're nearby, it's unlocked...

    • yodatom10

      I rather see an option to have it auto unlock by SSID... the same stragy I use with tasker for my phones and tablets

    • SineOtter

      I could see this: it'll more than likely relock itself if it loses connection with your phone and offer you the option to just log in normally, so when they get outside of Bluetooth range (most likely, I assume) it would lock itself and they lose access.

      If they stick around long enough to keep it logged in by staying within range of your phone... Well, go for a walk! You get too far, it locks anyways, you get close enough, you hopefully find them with your laptop in tow and go "wtf."

      Of course, it may just also give you a big button on Android that says "Lock Now" or something too.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    How does this even work?

    • Kacho_ON

      I'm guessing WiFi or Bluetooth

      • Vien M Hoang

        bluetooth would make more sense, since after a certain distance the connection either drops or is very weak. WiFi wouldn't make sense to me because you aren't directly connected to the chromebook. maybe using the hotspot feature on the newer androids?

        • Dennis Ulijn

          I've heard that the original company that did something like this was acquihired by Google (forgot the name), and it was done by sending it out an inaudible (20kHz+ or something like that) soundwave...

          Edit: As Amit in a comment below says: SlickLogin

        • WORPspeed

          wifi-direct? :P

  • Alexander Reddicks

    It's probably location-based. Hence the "find your phone" button.

    • ddpacino

      It's probably meant to initiate a search for your device via bluetooth to link the two.

  • Jimmy Baez

    Ah! Cannot wait for this to be a thing!

  • James Devenberg

    I would love this! This would let me use LastPass with my Google account! I don't right now cause logging into my Chromebook with a LastPass password is a serious PITA right now.

    • brkshr

      Have you checked out KeePass 2? Works on pretty much anything.

      • James Devenberg

        The problem is that ChromeOS won't load any extentions or anything until you log into the laptop, and you need your Google password to log in.

        • brkshr

          Ah okay. Didn't know that. Thanks for the schooling!

          Personally, my Google accounts and KeePass are the only things that I do know the password for. I log into Google stuff so often that it's a royal pain to have to go through KeePass (or any other service). ESPECIALLY when I'm setting up a new phone/tablet for the first time and I would have to enter in 20 various upper case, lower case, number & special characters. That and my Google accounts have two-step authentication. So I'm not really worried about those passwords.

  • brkshr

    I hope they have a feature similar to this for my phone when I buy the Moto 360 smartwatch

    • jm9843

      Moto X has trusted Bluetooth devices feature.

      • brkshr

        and I'm jealous of that feature. I'm hoping that they bring this to stock Android. There are a lot of things that I like about the Moto X. Just not enough to get me away from my Nexus 5. We'll see how the Moto X2 and Nexus 6 (or Nexus 5(14)) compare...

        • brent

          I owned both the moto x and nexus 5.. The moto x is the better phone (all around) the speaker is loud.. Active notifications and the all day heavy use battery life.. The nexus 5 is horrible for sound and battery.. And really.. Unless you are looking at benchmark numbers, you're not going to notice a massive performance difference between the two.. Moto x is the better phone.

          • brkshr

            My GF has a Moto X that I bought her. I really like the MX for its active notifications and always listening mode. However, I think the screen on the N5 is leaps and bounds better than the MX, and I like the 5" screen better. I also like the peace of mind that I can always flash factory images if I mess something up and that I will receive the latest updates first. For everyone else, I always recommend the MX. The Nexus line is my cup of tea though.

            Sound I don't really care too much about. As long as I can hear the ringer & notifications, which I can on the N5, I'm cool. No phones, but the HTC One, can satisfy my music quality needs. The battery life I'm going to have to say is debatable. My GF pretty much only uses her phone for FB. I use my phone all day for business, games and browsing, and we usually end up with the same amount of life at the end of the night.

            If I wasn't so comfortable in Nexus products, I would own an MX. I just prefer the Nexus open-ness, and the N5 is a really good phone. Maybe not the best, but in my mind the open-ness, ease of recovery and ease of modding puts it ahead.

  • CoreRooted

    If your Windows PC has bluetooth, there are apps available for Windows that will replicate this functionality.

  • Jeff Weatherup

    Wow. Trust is a wonderful thing. Relationships tend to need it.

    • Chaz

      Hey, the NSA is already snooping through everything. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside to know I can stop someone. I guess I should trust the government too? This is not a trust issue, its an issue of privacy.

      • Justin Howell

        *yawn*

  • http://familyoffortune.com/ Caleb Lee

    Hope this works with iPod touch/Iphones

    • Magneira

      maybe in the apple world, mackbook + ipod? and rembember if this never comes to your apples devices, its apple's fault ;)

  • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

    Yo girlfriend! Check out my new shining Chrome OS laptop.
    No wait, you can't USE it. Just look at it. From a distance.As if it is an elephant at the zoo!
    Yeah, makes sense, sir!

  • black

    Didn't Google acquire a company or a bunch of guys working on something like this?

  • Iftach Dafni

    I have chromebook but I dont want to change the chanel to the Dev chanel, can I have it without the dev chanel?

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