PSA: Chromebooks Getting Extended End Of Life deadline

Google is very “data creepy” (but it has plenty of competition from Facebook, Instagram, Ad Networks, Governments, etc). However, one of the good things it did the last few years is the launch of Chromebooks, easy to use and easy to maintain laptops and more recently moonlighting as Android kinda-tablets.

And while Google avoided the Android pitfall and Google was responsible for the OS updates, it placed OS update expiration dates on Chromebooks. Not on an individual Chromebook but on the platform. Let’s say your Chromebook is using the Celery 123U half-core processor. The Celery 123U launched in May 2015. You bought your Chromebook brand new in box from a retailer in May 2020. The OS updates expiration countdown does not start from May 2020 but May 2015. So even though you just bought a NIB laptop from an authorized retailer, the OS updates were already close to expiration.

After getting e-yelled at by many and mayhaps losing some big corporate and educational orders over this, Google increase the OS updates expiration date (“AUE” in Google speak) multiple times.

And now they have increased it once again per Android Central, so be sure to visit the official Google Support Auto Update Expiration Date page to check whether your current Chromebook(s) have been given a new lease on life. One of mine jumped from 2021 to 2023!

BUT that’s not all. Some of you frequent Chromebook users may have noticed something irritating the last few weeks. Instead of having one set of settings like it used to, the Chromebook now has separate ChromeOS and Chrome Browser settings. This was irritating and confusing. Why were they doing that?

Well the answer to that is related to AUE. Google’s Project LaCros will be splitting the Chrome browser from the ChromeOS, allowing older Chromebooks who no longer get the OS updates to be able to receive Chrome browser updates like a “normal” computer.

This also opens up an interesting question and food for thought for anti-monopoly hawks. Will Chromebooks also be opened up to other web browsers now that OS and the Browser will separate? Details at the OS News at 11 🙂

Comments

  1. S.W. Anderson says

    The past three years or so, computer makers have come around to the fact that Chromebooks are a going proposition — and not one that’s going away. Yes, they’re great for quick starts and rapid browsing. Not too bad doing docs and sheets online with Google’s work-alike Office apps. But then Google makes those apps work offline, too; store locally as well as in the cloud. All sorts of syncing. Large numbers of extensions from third parties. Schools and businesses really love those no-near-death-experience updates. Thirty seconds to a little over a minute, done and you’re good to go. Best of all, everything just works. Forget Photoshop, Lightroom and that software that came with your camera. Forget lots of good software in the Windows realm. Even so, people love these Chromebooks. So, next thing you know, we’re seeing Chromebooks with specs that would be well suited to Windows 10. No longer just cheap-and-dirty, quick-out-the-door netbook- low-end-laptops any more. Big capacity, blazing speed — High Price!!!!

    So, why do I mention all this? Because with people devoting more of their time and money to Chromebook use, they’re not going to go out and replace them every three or four years just because Google decided it was time for them to move on. When they mostly cost $199 to $379 or so that kind of thing was acceptable. The guy who lays out $489 to $789 is likely to feel differently. This leads me to wonder if some third party could gain a lucrative market for continuing Google-like Chrome OS updates or coming out with a new work-alike OS for Chromebooks Google considers too long in the tooth. But not Limux, please. That OS has had so many years when it was proclaimed ready for prime time; you don’t have to be a code wizard, yada, yada, yada. Sure, it underlies Chrome OS. But that’s the key: Google kept Linux so far under, only code wizards could spelunk to it and mess with it. Which is exactly where Linux belongs, eternally.

    I would like to see such a development, third party updates or a competing Chromebook OS. Because things run comfortably fast and reliably even on lower- and medium-priced Chromebooks. It’s a shame to have to send them to recycling just because Google pulls the plug on updates, nor is it necessary to get a new one to have enough capacity and speed. Just my four bits worth. 🙂

    • Great points! Indeed, not just Google but other PC makers have been making high-end, even four figure i7 Chromebooks!

      The problem with a new OS installation is indeed prohibitive, especially since Chromebooks are advertised and sold to people as just a browser and no need to mess with anything. Neverware seems to be promising for those with some technical skills or curiosity to learn, but I haven’t used it personally https://www.neverware.com/

      Worse case scenario, the older Chromebooks without OS updates get relegated to safe(r) tasks, and perhaps turning off Wifi when not in use. No banking, no work-related things, but casual web browsing, local videos and music and YouTube, checking news and weather, a living room communal use computer, smart home hub, gallery viewer, ebook and PDF reader, a user manual repository, etc…

      • S.W. Anderson says

        Indeed, you’re right. Your bottom-line conclusion for “safe” uses is just like mine. I was tempted to mention that but my comment was long enough already. This is the first I’ve heard of neverware; I’ll take a look. Cheers. 😉

  2. S.W. Anderson says

    Re: Neverware / free CloudReady OS. I have a now-ancient and rudimentary first Chromebook, an Acer, I might give free CloudReady a try on if the hardware is really compatible. Thanks for the pointer!

  3. I haven’t tried Neverware either. I’ll wait until my Chromebook ages out of the automatic updates and experiment with it! Or if I can find an old one at a super low price.

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