October 23, 2013
Parental Controls Coming To Google’s Chrome Web Browser
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Google is developing a parental controls feature for its Chrome web browser and its Chromebooks. The new feature is called "supervised users," and is currently available on the beta channel for testing, according to a TechCrunch report.
Google announced the beta preview of supervised users on the Google Chrome Blog on Tuesday. The search giant said it will test all software changes associated with supervised users before it makes it into the full release versions of Google Chrome.
"I also find it important to keep family members protected from websites that may be inappropriate. To help those who may need some guidance browsing the web, we're kicking off a beta channel preview of a new feature called supervised users," wrote Pam Green, software engineer and surf instructor at Google, in the blog post.
The new feature will allow parents or guardians to set up parameters for Chrome users, namely those using a Chromebook.
"Let's say you've recently purchased the new HP Chromebook 11 and want to share it with your son. He'll be able to use your Chromebook as a supervised user. This means once you've created a supervised user for him on your Chromebook, you'll be able to visit chrome.com/manage to review a history of web pages he has visited, determine sites that you want to allow or block, and manage permissions for any blocked websites he has requested to view," according to the Google Chrome Blog.
In addition to the ability to block sites based on browser history with the supervised user, administrators can enable SafeSearch for filtering search results, TechCrunch reports.
The supervised users option is reported to have been in testing for some time.
TechCrunch cites that the feature was first spotted in December. At that time it was called "Managed User Settings" in Chrome's Canary/Chromium build. Over the summer, the feature became available to a slightly larger audience under the Canary build. It was able to be switched on and off using flags, the article stated.
The supervised user feature will likely be available to Chrome users across the web, however TechCrunch believes supervised users is aimed at Chromebook users, and follows the launch of the HP Chromebook 11, which was mentioned in Pam Greene's blog post on the Google Chrome Blog.
On a Chromebook 11 or within the Chrome browser on another system, supervised users allows a parent to set parameters for their child's browsing. However, there are other applications, such as a computer set up in a shared or public space like a school or library.
Once the supervised user feature becomes widely available, Chromebook users will be able to create a supervised user from an option that appears on the sign-in screen.
There are also other ways for parents or administrators to restrict web browsing. Third-party software exists, and Windows Phone 8 offers a "Kid's Corner" feature that lets parents set browsing rules and block websites.
On Chromebooks, the new supervised user feature aims to make Chrome and Chrome OS more appealing to parents and teachers, Cnet reports.
Parental controls are a "long missing feature," the Cnet article states. "Multiple accounts that can be differentiated by privilege status. For now, a supervised account would allow the primary Chrome OS user to create a secondary account that could be monitored. Parents will be able to review browsing history, create whitelists and blacklists of websites, and manage permissions for blocked sites to which the supervised user has requested access," Seth Rosenblatt from Cnet wrote.