Google may be readying a change to ChromeOS that could drastically extend the life of Chromebooks, and it may be coming in just a few weeks.
The update would separate Chrome browser support from ChromeOS, which would allow it to receive its own updates faster and independently from the operating system. In other words, it would function exactly how Chrome works on a Mac or Windows laptop.
As noted by AboutChromebooks, this refashioning of ChromeOS is a project called “Lacros,” and it began development back in 2020.
The benefit is that the Chrome browser can continue to update after Chromebooks are at their end-of-life and can no longer receive system updates. Notably, Chromebooks typically have a lifespan of approximately five to six years, and some have update support of up to eight years. However, the Chrome browser will continue to receive updates, which can ultimately extend the life of a Chromebook even longer.
As per the documents uncovered by AboutChromebooks, LaCrOS seems to be a default feature on ChromeOS 116 release. Additionally, the 116 beta release has had its “Lacros support” flag removed. The beta version of the browser enabled the separation manually.
With the Lacros project being at least two years in development, it seems Google is ready to finally introduce the new Chrome browser support during its next ChromeOS 116 release, which is set to roll out around August 22.
Other feature tweaks in the update will allow the Lacros browser to open with a splash screen on ChromeOS when it is being updated. Then it will have successfully swapped out the old Chrome browser for the new Lacros browser.
Currently, Google has not confirmed any details about the association between Lacros and the 116 release.
Overall, the update likely won’t be a major change for users, but its long-term benefits could be felt years down the line.