Editor’s note: Today, we’re excited to announce early access to a new version of Chrome OS bringing the benefits of Chrome OS to PCs and Macs. Chrome OS Flex is the cloud-first, fast, easy-to manage, and secure operating system for PCs and Macs. Learn more below, try it out, and share your feedback to help us shape this product.
End-user computing is complicated. And it’s even more complicated for businesses and schools. Slow boot times, intrusive updates, security add-ons, and burdensome management of legacy devices take valuable time away from employees, students, and IT. Since 2010, Chrome OS has provided a better option. Chromebooks don’t slow down over time, stay up to date, provide proactive protection, and are easy to manage.
To help even more organizations adopt a modern computing solution, Google acquired Neverware in 2020. As the developers of CloudReady, an operating system built on Chromium OS, they’ve helped countless businesses and schools modernize PCs and Macs including Nordic Choice Hotels, ABN AMRO, and MyGate. Since then, we have been hard at work integrating the benefits of CloudReady into a new version of Chrome OS.
Introducing Chrome OS Flex: a cloud-first, fast, easy-to-manage, and secure operating system for PCs and Macs
Chrome OS Flex is a new, free-to-download operating system from Google. Built for businesses and schools, it’s fully compatible with Google’s powerful cloud-based management. Chrome OS Flex modernizes devices you already own, allowing you to experience the benefits of Chrome OS on PCs and Macs:
- A fast, modern work experience: Chrome OS Flex provides fast access to web apps and virtualization, all within an intuitive, clutter-free experience for users. Chrome OS Flex boots up in seconds and doesn’t slow down over time. And with system updates that happen in the background, there’s less downtime for users.
- Proactive security against the latest threats: With Chrome OS Flex, there’s no need for antivirus software. With regular security updates, Chrome OS Flex has built in protection against threats including viruses, ransomware, and phishing. Sandboxing technology keeps threats contained to a specific tab or application, the read-only OS blocks executables where threats often hide, and Google Safe Browsing proactively warns users before navigating to malicious sites. IT can even prevent data loss on lost or stolen devices with remote wipe.
- Easy deployment and management: Within minutes, IT can install Chrome OS Flex on devices through USB or network deployment. After login, a user’s cloud profile gets downloaded and automatically syncs their settings, bookmarks, and policies. And with the cloud-based Google Admin console, IT has a powerful and simple management experience. Even with 500+ policies and controls, it’s still easy to get started with pre-set policies recommended by Google.
- A sustainable solution making the most of existing hardware: Use Chrome OS Flex to maximize the life of your existing device fleet. Rather than disposing of aging PCs and Macs, refresh them with a modern and fast operating system to reduce e-waste.
Chrome OS Flex has the same code base and release cadence as Chrome OS which ensures a consistent end user and IT experience. Chrome OS Flex delivers the official Chrome Browser, Google Assistant, and cross-device features in the same user interface as Chrome OS. And with Chrome Enterprise or Education Upgrade, IT can manage Chrome OS Flex devices and Chrome OS devices like Chromebooks side by side in the Google Admin console.1
With such similar end user and IT experiences, it’s also easy to transition from Chrome OS Flex to Chrome OS devices when you’re ready to purchase new hardware: With Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and Chromebases, you’ll experience end-to-end optimization across hardware and software with the strongest security and largest app ecosystem through the Google Play Store.2
Get started today to help shape the future of Chrome OS Flex
We have been testing Chrome OS Flex with Googlers and other large customers. Now, we want to provide you with a first look at the product to get your feedback. A USB drive and compatible PC or Mac is all you need to get started, and it’s free to download.
- First, you can try Chrome OS Flex without installing it by booting directly from the USB drive – risk free.
- Then once you’re ready, you can install Chrome OS Flex on your PC or Mac to replace your operating system for the best experience.
It’s important to know that Chrome OS Flex is still in early access and available on the dev channel. It’s constantly improving, but you should expect bugs. A stable version of Chrome OS Flex will be available in the coming months, and at that time, CloudReady customers will be upgraded to Chrome OS Flex for free.
Visit the Chrome OS Flex website to learn more, get installation instructions, and see certified devices. Additionally, if you want to combine modern computing with cloud-first management, you can start a free trial of Chrome Enterprise Upgrade to secure and manage your Chrome OS Flex devices.
By: Thomas Riedl (Director of Product, Enterprise and Education)
Source: Google Cloud Blog