A Plan to Make Chromebooks More Secure Could Change the Industry

Changes to the underlying code for Chrome OS reveal a plan to use physical security to users’ benefit.

Apr 24, 2014 at 8:00PM

One day, you may be able to unlock your Chromebook with an Android smartphone. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications in the following video.

Android Police found the budding feature in the latest develop edition of Chrome OS. Known as "Easy Unlock," the idea appears to be to allow a handset to act as password proxy. We won't know more till Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG) releases the code in a finished version of the OS. And yet its mere presence in a beta version is promising, Tim says. Why? Security is an increasingly important issue in the age of Heartbleed. Using physical security measures to lock down devices could help prevent another major outbreak.

In the digital realm, a similar precaution known as two-step authentication is catching on with banks as well as communications and e-commerce services. Think of it as entering an alarm code before you can unlock your front door. Tumblr implemented the method last month, while Google offers similar protections in Gmail.

We should also note that Google has teased physical security before. According to TechCrunch, the search king last year fiddled with the idea of developing a cryptographic computer ID card. Whether that product will ever see the light of day is anyone's guess. Either way, Tim says adding "Easy Unlock" would be a smart business move for Google -- improving security while encouraging casual users to commit more fully to the company's suite of products.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What did you think of "Easy Unlock?" Would you implement the measure were it available? Why or why not? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Google stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google (A and C class) at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Google (A and C class). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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