Google could be taking the Chrome out of ChromeOS

The conscious uncoupling might make older machines more secure.

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Google has reportedly been working for years to separate the Chrome browser from Chrome OS, that’s how entangled they are, and it looks like this project is ready to bear fruit. The solution seems to be a new-ish standalone Linux-based browser, named Lacros, that would replace the current Chrome OS-based browser. What’s more? Lacros is nearly ready for primetime, according to About Chromebooks.

Why does this matter? As it stands, you need a full Chrome OS update to make any changes to the browser. This isn’t the most efficient means to issue browser patches, thus the years-long search for a decoupling solution. Additionally, older Chromebooks lose access to system updates, so this move could potentially make these machines more secure.

You can already use Lacros, but it launches alongside the built-in Chrome browser and requires a fair bit of know-how to get going. About Chromebooks found some small code changes that suggest that Lacros is set to release as the default browser for Chromebooks, potentially eliminating the current browser altogether. This means that new Chromebooks would feature Lacros as the browser directly out of the box, allowing browser-specific patches and updates without involving the operating system.

Also, these changes look to be coming soon, like real soon. All points indicate the very next system update, Chrome OS 116, will bring Lacros into the mainstream. Chrome OS updates hit around once a month, so probably at the end of August or the beginning of September. It remains unclear if the system update will make Lacros the default browser or if it’ll just remove restrictions to using Lacros instead of the default browser.

In the meantime, recent Chrome OS updates have included Android app streaming and a robust video editor.