Following last week’s Chrome browser update, Google is rolling out Chrome OS 88 to desktops and laptops. The update includes a handful of bug fixes, along with an exciting “smart display” lockscreen and fingerprint login for websites with WebAuthn support.
Like the idling screen on Google’s Nest Hub and Chromecast, the new Chrome OS “smart display” lockscreen cycles through images in your Google Photos library (or Google’s stock photo library). It also provides handy media controls for streaming or casting music, alongside the current time, temperature, battery status, and Wi-Fi status. Unfortunately, the new lockscreen lacks most of the Nest Hub’s features, such as smarthome controls and ETAs for your daily commute.
To enable the “smart display” lockscreen, open your “Settings,” slide into that “Personalization” menu, and go to “Screen Saver.” Pick the “Chome OS” screen saver, which is what Google calls its new lockscreen. If you haven’t set up a Chromecast or Nest Hub, then you may need to choose a Google Photos album for the lockscreen to cycle through. (If you don’t see the new screen saver, try updating your device!)
Interestingly, the Chrome OS 88 update allows you to log into some websites with your fingerprint or PIN. Websites that support the WebAuthn standard, like Dropbox and GitHub, should give you the option to login without entering a password after you update to Chrome OS 88. The WebAuthn standard also allows you to use your fingerprint or PIN for two-factor authentication on select websites. Two-factor authentication is an extra step in the login processes that deters most hackers, even if they have your password.
Google is rolling out the Chrome OS 88 update today, January 27th, although it may take a few days for the update to reach your device. If you don’t receive a notification for the update, try forcing the update through the “About Chrome OS” page in your device’s settings.