New ChromeOS update allows users to take more control over their location

App Drawer on Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5
(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What You Need to Know

  • This new update follows what had been announced last year by the company. 
  • Users can take deeper control over their geolocation. 
  • Apps can now be individually determined to have camera or microphone access. 

A new update coming to ChromeOS will allow users to have even more control over what apps can see their location. It’s all part of a larger security update coming to the platform, which was announced on Thursday by the tech giant. Though, it’s important to note that many of the updates included within the announcement will affect mainly enterprise users, but the location and privacy settings will impact all. 

Per the announcement, ChromeOS will provide users with enhanced privacy controls, including geolocation control and app-level permissions for camera, microphone and geolocation services. The goal is to enhance “user productivity and transparency with a single hub for all privacy controls,” according to the official blog update. 

These new controls follow what the company had announced last year, which was the ability for users to toggle access to the camera and microphone at a system-based level. Through that update, users who had the toggle turned off would then be asked if they’d like to turn on the microphone or camera when a website attempts to gain access. 

The geolocation control will allow users to individually determine which apps and services can access their geolocation. Per 9to5Google, which first spotted the new update, the enhanced controls will disable Google Location Services and can be accessed in the Security and Privacy settings. 

ChromeOS privacy settings

Use case example by Google (Image credit: Google)

In its official blog, the company utilized Instagram as a case example of app-level permissions. In this example, a user could individually control the app and its access, including what permissions it has, such as the camera. Turning it on would allow the app to access a user's camera, and toggling it off would prevent the app from doing so altogether.

Additionally, if the user has the toggle on,  Instagram would only have access when the app is in use; otherwise, it would be blocked. This level of control would extend across multiple apps and allow users to do the same for the microphone, allowing users to take charge of how these features and apps interact with them.

In all, with this update, users can rest easy knowing that they have as much control as possible over what other companies can see and detect.