What you need to know
- Google has announced a new cloud-first version of Chrome OS for PCs and Macs.
- Chrome OS Flex has been built specifically for businesses and schools.
- A stable version of the operating system is expected to become available in the coming months.
Google has introduced a new version of Chrome OS that it claims is a "sustainable way" to modernize old PCs and Macs. The cloud-first OS, dubbed Chrome OS Flex, is now available in early access and has been designed specifically with businesses and schools in mind.
The free-to-download OS is fully compatible with Google's powerful cloud-based management and allows businesses and schools to modernize their existing devices with a "fast and modern work experience." Chrome OS Flex can be installed by IT on devices within minutes through either USB or network deployment.
It offers several other advantages — including quick access to web apps, a clutter-free experience for users, and regular security updates with built-in protection against threats such as viruses and ransomware. Google also says Chrome OS Flex "boots up in seconds and doesn't slow down over time."
To help ensure a consistent end user experience, Chrome OS Flex shares its code base and release cadence with Chrome OS. It comes with the Chrome browser, Google Assistant, and the same UI design as Chrome OS. With Chrome Enterprise for Education Upgrade, IT will be able to manage Chrome OS Flex devices and the best Chromebooks side by side from the Google Admin console.
Since Chrome OS Flex is currently available on the dev channel, it isn't free from bugs. However, Google says a stable version of the operating system will be available in the coming months.
To get started with Chrome OS Flex, all you need is a compatible PC or Mac and a USB drive. You can even try the OS by booting directly from the USB drive, without even installing it. For the "best experience," however, Google recommends replacing your operating system with Chrome OS Flex.
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