There is no doubting that Chrome OS isn’t going anywhere, and it’s already looking to replace Android in the world of tablets and other hybrid devices. But, using it as your primary computer in a network environment is still difficult to say the least. But soon, it seems, this will get much easier as Google is adding SMB support to Chrome OS.
Server Message Block, known as SMB for short, is a popular method to share files over a network. The protocol has been available for years on Windows, and today the open-source Samba implementation is used by both macOS and Linux to interface with Windows networks. But, it’s been absent on Google’s Chrome OS, even though Chrome OS is based on Linux source code.
Last July, Google did release a Samba client for Android on Google Play, but the app didn’t last long. Thankfully, if you use Android, there are other third party options out there, such as AndSMB. However, thus far there has been nothing for Chrome OS. But, that could change very soon.
A new flag called #native-smb has been discovered in the Canary channel of Chrome OS, which is where Google tests future releases and new features. The discovery, made by Chrome Story, shows that soon Chrome OS will natively support SMB shares without the need to use any third party applications or extensions.
Currently, the flag doesn’t do too much, and the author couldn’t get it to work. “I enabled this flag and tried using it. The Files app crashed when I tried to add a file server. This, however, is Canary channel that we are talking about, so bugs and crashes are expected.”
There is no official word from Google on when this feature will reach Chromebook everywhere, and since it has just been discovered, it could be awhile. The current implementation doesn’t even appear to work, as of yet, and it will probably take Google a few weeks to get the new flag in working order. Once it does, you can expect it to stay in Canary for testing for quite some time before it makes it into the next version of Chrome OS.
Still, knowing that Google is hard at work bringing these types of features to Chrome OS is very good news. Chrome OS is slowly becoming more and more powerful with every new release, transforming the devices into something that was more of a niche into a real contender for a production machine. While there is much more to be done, I think we will find more users converting to Chrome OS as more of these features are added.
I know I became a convert once Android apps became viable, and now when you combine the power of Chrome OS, Android, and modern network and file sharing standards, Chrome OS could theoretically take on any of the modern operating system makers such as Apple and Microsoft. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
What do you think? Do you think Chrome OS will be able to be a viable replacement for everyone in the future with new features such as these? Or do you believe that Chrome OS is still only relegated to a specific niche market? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.