A coming revision to Chrome OS will enable Windows-compatible network browsing by default. This means that Chromebooks will be able to connect with Windows PCs just as easily as other Windows PCs do today.
“Network File Shares (such as Samba) are now enabled by default in Chrome OS Canary,” Google’s François Beaufort explains on Google+, and referring to a pre-release version of the system. “This means you can browse another machine folder quite easily once it’s set up.”
If I’m reading the Chromium link that Mr. Beaufort links to correctly, most people will see this functionality appear in Chrome OS version 70, which is set for October 23.
The reason this is important is that it represents another small step by Google to overcome the blockers and pain points that customers may have as they adopt Chromebooks. In some cases, people are replacing a Windows PC with a Chromebook. But it’s probable that even more people are augmenting aging Windows PCs with a new Chromebook. Many of these will wish to access files across their home networks.
Chromebooks and other Chrome OS-based PCs have been able to connect to file shares on Windows PCs and other SMB-based devices (like NASs) using a technology called Samba for years. (This is true of Linux PCs too.) Today, however, that process is a bit manual: You need to add support for this technology via a File System for Windows service plug-in that Google makes available through its Chrome Web Store. And then you need to keep reconnecting to shares since it will drop the connection over time.
With this change, Samba/SMB support will effectively be native to Chrome OS. But I’m curious if this change will make the experience more seamless with regards to reconnecting to a previously-connected share.
<p>wow that's amazing /s</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#320328">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>Clearly the lack of straightforward support for printers on Chromebooks is a much bigger limitation than networking between them and Windows.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#320541">In reply to PeteB:</a></em></blockquote><p>MikeG isn't currently a MS employee and hasn't kept his past association secret, so there's really no "closet" factor here. Yes, he's a MS fan which obviously isn't a secret either.</p><p><br></p><p>Given the tiny market that Chromebooks have, we may not live long enough to see those chickens coming home if they ever do.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#320714">In reply to pecosbob04:</a></em></blockquote><p>We all have our idiosyncratic opinions when commenting, no conspiracy theory is required. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#320346">In reply to MikeCerm:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yet with the addition of the ability to install Android apps on Chromebooks, the initial web-only philosophy is pretty much history. </p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#320588">In reply to curtisspendlove:</a></em></blockquote><p>Not sure if the existence of a plugin really qualifies as support in the way it's typically understood. </p>