Back in August 2013, Google released Android Device Manager (ADM), a free service that allows Android phone and tablet users to track down their gadget. Of course, the device has to be on for the service to work, as Google tracks using GPS and Wi-Fi. Device owners can ring the phone or tablet, lock it up tight, or erase all personal data remotely.
In December 2013 Google followed up with an Android app supporting the ADM service. With that out of the way, Google's François Beaufort now reveals on Google Plus that the Chromium OS team is considering adding a similar service to Google's platform, calling it internally as "consumer management." As with the Android version, this upcoming feature will allow Chromebook owners to remotely lock and erase the device.
"To see it, you'll need to switch to Dev channel, turn on Dev mode, run chrome with the experimental command line switch¹ --enable-consumer-management (not a flag there) and go to chrome://settings. Since this is still work in progress, clicking on the "Enroll" button won't do anything yet though," Beaufort writes.
Do Chromebook users really need a remote management tool like this one? After all, they're not quite as easy to lose as an Android phone or tablet. Still, you have to consider theft as a possibility, and "consumer management" definitely answers the call for keeping the device safe and secure wherever it may be.
But what if the consumer has both a Chromebook and an Android device? That would be two interfaces the customer must deal with. As one respondent to Beaufort's update suggests, perhaps the two can be combined and labeled as "Google Device Manager." That's not a bad idea, actually.