Last year, Google introduced ‘Family Link’, an app that lets parents manage their kids’ smartphone usage. Through the app, parents can create Google account(s) for their child(ren) and monitor how much time they spend using different apps. The app also lets parents remotely lock kids’ smartphones and can generate detailed activity reports as well.
Family Link was originally launched for children under 13 years of age. However, owing to favourable response from parents, Google is now expanding the app to allow the smartphone usage of teenagers to be monitored as well.
That said, there is a caveat. A teenager whose smartphone usage is being managed is free to turn the action off, but the app will inform the parent(s) of the same. Also, both parties (parent and child) must agree to the supervision before the action can be undertaken.
Family Link isn’t just limited to smartphones, but now works for Chromebooks as well. Parents can use it to specify website-specific restrictions, app limits, as well as screen time constraints for their children’s usage of Chromebooks.
Speaking of Chromebooks, Google has started seeding a new update to Chrome OS, the browser-based operating system that powers Chromebooks. The new update bumps Chrome OS to version 69, bringing it in line with current versions of Chrome browser on all supported platforms. The biggest change here is the refreshed ‘Material Theme’ design, which comes with rounded corners and overall softer visuals. In addition, it finally brings Linux app support to Chrome OS, a feature that had been in beta until now. Developers can now Linux apps and command-line tools via a terminal. The feature is intended to allow developers test Android apps on Chromebooks.
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Another new feature is ‘Night Light’, which is identical to Windows 10’s similarly-named functionality. According to a report by 9to5Google, ‘Night Light’ is meant to reduce the eye strain by automatically managing the colours on the screen throughout the day. Users can also create their own custom patterns and specify different colour temperature values.