What you need to know
- Google has been working on a standalone version of the Chrome browser for Chrome OS.
- This new browser is based on the Linux version called Lacros.
- The goal is to keep the browser updated and more secure even after a Chromebook's AUE.
Chromebooks are great personal computers because they are affordable, they get regular feature updates, and they are among the most secure internet-connected devices you can buy. One of the reasons that Chromebooks are so secure is because of the way that they sandbox the Chrome browser and downloaded apps, but also because they get automatic security patches for upwards of eight years. However, once a Chromebook has reached the end of its update life, its users will no longer be protected from possible security exploits through the Chrome browser. One important way that Google is working to correct this potential flaw is by completely rewriting the current Chrome browser and replacing it on Chrome OS with a new browser-based on the Linux version called Lacros — a clever acronym that stands for Linux And ChRome OS.
According to a post by Dinsan Francis at Chrome Story, there is now an experimental flag in Chrome OS where you can set Lacros as the primary browser on your Chromebook. Even though news of Lacros has been out for more than half a year, this is the first time someone has spotted a flag to make it the primary browser still in the testing phase and has not yet made it to the Canary channel, where adventurous users can try it out.
Most new Chromebooks should receive updates for anywhere from six to eight years from the time they were released. This is referred to as the AUE, or auto-update expiration. According to our Chromebook expert Ara Wagoner, it's one of the most important things that you should look for when purchasing one of the best Chromebooks. If you're looking for a dependable Chromebook that will last you nearly to the next decade, then we suggest considering our top Chromebook pick, the Lenovo Flex 5.
The best Chromebook for most people
Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook
The sweet spot
The Lenovo Flex 5 is nearly the perfect Chromebook for most people. It's compact, has loud front-facing speakers, a great keyboard, and a really nice screen that folds back to become a tablet.
Jeramy is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about smart home gadgets and wearables, he's defending his relationship with his smart voice assistants to his family. You can follow him on Twitter at @jeramyutgw.
In order for this to be of use to "resurrect" Chromebooks that have already gone past their AUE date, it stands to reason that there will need to be a mechanism to update the old version of the OS just to be able to apply the new browser. That would be a nice trick for my old ASUS C100PA, which still runs just fine. Of course, the next performance obstacles to running any old laptop are greatly diminished battery life and obsolete hardware components.
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