While Google pushes regular software update to Chrome OS devices, these updates depend on several device-specific non-Google hardware and software provides. Due to this, many older Chromebooks don’t receive Chrome browser updates indefinitely, leaving them vulnerable just a few years after their release. To remedy this issue, Google is reportedly working on decoupling Chrome updates from Chrome OS updates under an experimental initiative codenamed Lacros.
As per a report from Android Police on the matter, Lacros aims to separate the system UI (ash window manager, login screen, etc.) from the Chrome binary on Chrome OS. To do this, Chrome developers have renamed existing Chrome binaries on Chrome OS to ash-Chrome, with minimal changes. The developers then renamed linux-chrome binary to lacros-chrome, improved its Wayland support, and made it act like the web browser on Chrome OS. These changes, in effect, will allow Google to ship two separate binaries independently with some performance/resource costs. By having two different instances of Chrome, Google will be able to push browser updates to end-of-life Chromebooks that have stopped receiving Chrome OS updates.
The decoupling of Chrome updates from Chrome OS updates is expected to have a positive impact on Chromebook users with older hardware. With Lacros, users will be able to receive the latest updates for Google Chrome, even when they don’t have the latest version of Chrome OS running on their device. This will not only ensure that users get access to the latest Chrome features, but it’s also expected to make end-of-life Chromebooks a bit safer to use. However, these changes are still in the early stages of development and we don’t have any further information on how Google plans to roll them out to users when the feature finally hits the stable channel. We will update this post when we receive more information from the company.
A Literature and Linguistics graduate with a keen interest in everything Android. When not writing about tech, Pranob spends most of his time either playing League of Legends or lurking on Reddit.
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Google Chrome, Chrome OS, Operating system, Chromebook
World news – US – Google prepares to decouple Chrome updates from Chrome OS updates