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Google rolls out Chrome OS Flex for individual and enterprise users

Google rolls out Chrome OS Flex for individual and enterprise users
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
15 Jul, 2022
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Google’s Chrome OS Flex, a variant of Chrome OS, which can be installed on any desktop PC or laptop, is available for general download, the Alphabet company said in a blog post.

The company is positioning Chrome OS Flex as an alternative operating system for users and enterprises who want to derive value from older PCs that are nearing the end of their life cycle and are struggling to handle default Windows OS or macOS. 

Chrome OS Flex can be installed via a USB drive on any PC running Windows or Mac OS. However, Google said that it has certified 295 devices that can run the new OS so far and is working on adding more devices to the list. 

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Certified devices will be able to leverage all the features of the OS. For instance, Google had earlier said that devices that do not have a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) will not be able to automatically leverage its hardware level protection for encryption keys that comes with the new OS. 

For enterprise users, Google said that the OS provides protection against malware, ransomware, and employee errors. Organisations can manage apps and policies remotely with a Chrome Enterprise Upgrade. Google is offering a 30-day free trial for the enterprise upgrade. 

Thomas Riedl, director of product, enterprise, and education at Google said that devices running Chrome OS Flex will not slow down over time. “Background updates reduce device downtime and improve productivity,” he added. 

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Google also claims that ChromeOS Flex utilises 19% less energy on average as compared to other devices.

Riedl further pointed out that using Chrome OS Flex on older devices instead of replacing them with new products can minimise the growing problem of electronic waste. 

“Worldwide, 40 million tons of e-waste is generated every year – that’s like throwing away 800 laptops per second,” he added. 

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Older devices are also a major concern for enterprises and are adding to employee frustration. 

According to a Freshworks report, 57% of employees said that they feel restrained by legacy tech. 

Google indicated that Chrome OS Flex can be quickly installed on corporate devices. The company also cited an emergency deployment of the Chrome OS Flex by Nordic Choice Hotels, a chain of more than 200 hotels across Scandinavia and the Baltic countries after it suffered a ransomware attack in December 2021. 

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According to Google, Nordic Choice Hotels installed ChromeOS Flex on 2,000 computers across 200 locations in under 48 hours and protected their business from a costly shutdown.

Chrome OS Flex can also help Google expand its PC OS footprint, which is largely dominated by Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac devices. Windows OS accounts for 76.31% of desktop OS market share, MacOS 14.6%, and Chrome OS 1.72% as of June, according to Statcounter