- Google has released Chrome OS 88 with a screen saver that turns Chromebooks into smart displays.
- You can get personalized weather, music controls, and your choice of art.
- The update also lets you sign into websites with your fingerprint or PIN code.
You might not need to buy a device like the Nest Hub Max to put a smart display in your home â€” at least, not if you have a Chromebook. Google has released a Chrome OS 88 update that turns your Chromebook lock screen into a smart display â€” with some limitations.
Enable a screen saver (under Personalization) and your Chromebook lock screen can show customized weather, music controls, and other information. Like typical smart displays, you can also set the background to display a personal photo album (from Google Photos). If youâ€™d rather not show your own photos, you can pick from â€œhundredsâ€� of art gallery images.
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Your Chromebook will have improvements once youâ€™re past the lock screen, too. Chrome OS 88 adds support for signing into Web Authentication-friendly (aka WebAuthn) websites using either your Chromebookâ€™s fingerprint reader or its PIN code. You can use either method for two factor authentication as well if youâ€™d rather not pull out your phone to verify your sign-ins.
Chrome OS 88 should be available now. Your Chromebook lock screen wonâ€™t perfectly mimic a smart display when thereâ€™s no video chat or elaborate smart home controls, but you might not mind if you just want to glance at conditions before you go for a walk. Lock screens as a whole tend to be barren â€” if nothing else, this puts your display to work.