It seems that Google’s gift of Android apps to Chromebooks has resulted in more than just Android apps. Whether a secret, silent feature or an unintended side effect, Chromebook owners will soon find that they will be able to locate, lock, or even wipe their device from a web browser. All thanks to the Android Device Manager framework that is now available on Chromebooks as well, and not just the ones that are configured for enterprise or schools.
Chrome OS actually has had the functionality quite some time ago, but that was reserved only for Chromebooks that were part of Google’s business or education programs. The feature was mostly similar to what Android devices had via Android Device Manager or ADM, but regular Chromebook users were deprived of that capability.
ADM gave Android device owners a way to locate a lost or stolen device simply from their web browser. Or, failing that, at least lock down or, in the worst case scenario, wipe their device clean to prevent private data from falling into the wrong hands. As the name very clearly states, it is a feature available only on Android devics. Until now.
The working theory is that Android Device Manager is a side effect of enabling Google Play Services on Chrome OS. Hopefully, whether intentional or not, Google will not later block the feature on Chromebooks, as it would deliver much needed functionality to regular owners. Then again, locating and remote wiping Chromebooks might be a feature that Google wants to offer only to paying customers like businesses and schools.
For now, anyway, the ADM feature is extremely limited in its reach, considering Google Play support in Chrome OS is also extremely limited. Only three Chromebooks, the ASUS Flip, Acer R12, and 2015 Pixel, are officially supported for now, and even then, only in Beta channels.