Chromebook Update System To Change

John Lister's picture

The way Chromebook's are updated is changing to boost security in older machines. The new changes mean that updates are separate from the Chrome operating system and the Chrome browser itself.

The fact that the Chrome browsers is so closely entangled with Chrome OS is one of the key selling points of Chromebooks. Most applications and functions run in a similar way to how a user would experience them while running the Chrome browser on a Windows PC.

In turn, the learning curve for Windows users switching to a Chromebook is very shallow an intuitive if they are already familiar with the Chrome browser. That and the automatic security updates make it a popular recommendation for more casual computer users who mainly want to access websites and do light computing tasks such as writing documents.

Security Updates End Early

The downside is that Chromebooks have a built-in end-of-life date based on their model and components. After this point, they will still work but won't get any updates. That's designed to avoid newer versions of Chrome OS causing problems with older, lower-spec machines.

That policy is somewhat controversial as the end-of-life date is based on when the machine was manufactured, not when it's bought and first used, which could be a considerable time later.

At the moment, that means security updates for the Chrome browser also end and so continuing to use the browser is "at your own risk." That's not exactly popular with people who still consider they have a perfectly usable machine for their needs. (Source:

Browser To Be Split Off

A new Google project called Lacros aims to introduce a very minor technical "split" between the Chrome browser and the underlying operating system. The idea is that even when the operating system is no longer being updated, the browser will still update automatically in the same way as happens on Windows PCs.

The change may be particularly welcome in places such as schools that buy Chromebooks in bulk with the intention of using them as long as physically possible. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Is this a smart move from Google? Did you realize security updates for the browser eventually stop under the current system, even on machines that are still working? Can you see any drawbacks to the change?

Rate this article: 
Average: 4.8 (6 votes)


doulosg's picture

The idea seems to make sense, although there may be some confusion here. Your second sentence suggests that there are *three* types of updates: one for the browser, one for the operating system, and one for - what? - the device itself. My understanding is there is only the OS and the browser, and both update types would process the same way. As it is, how would I know which was updated, or were both updated? So, to the user, the change is (mostly) transparent. I did know about the end-of-life factor and took it into consideration. It is nice to know that at least part of the system might not obsolesce in 4 years.