Admin Insider: What’s new in Chrome Enterprise, Release 78

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In our latest release, Chrome 78 brings features to help increase user productivity, and improve policy management for Admins. Here’s what to expect (and as always, for the full list of new features, be sure to read the release notes).  

Using Virtual Desks to increase productivity and reduce clutter
Starting in Chrome 78, users will be able to create up to four separate work spaces using Virtual Desks. Think of Virtual Desks as separate workspaces within your Chromebook. Use this feature to create helpful boundaries between projects or activities.  This makes it easier to multitask and stay organized.

To enable Virtual Desks, people can tap the overview key on the top of the keyboard or swipe down on the keypad using three fingers; “+ New desk” will appear in the top right hand corner. Read more about Virtual Desks and other updates.

Linux Beta experience enhancements  
With Chromebooks, you can install your favorite developer tools and build great applications. In Chrome 73, we made Linux containers available so that developers can access their favorite 

Integrated Development Environments (IDE) and other tools they know and love. In this latest version, we’re introducing two additional features to make this experience even better:

  • Backup and restore. In the case that a developer would want to restore their Linux environment to a previous version, users can now backup their files and applications to a restorable image, which can be used on that machine or a different Chromebook. The image can be backed up to your Chromebook’s local storage, an external drive, or Google Drive. 

  • GPU support on-by-default. Linux apps will now be able to use the Chromebooks’ Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to provide a snappier, lower-latency experience for development applications.

Improving policy management with Atomic policy groups 
With so many options for policy management, administrators are looking for ways to reduce potential policy conflicts, especially if admins of the same fleet are using multiple tools to manage that fleet, like group policy and the Google Admin console. To ensure predictable behavior from policies that are tightly related, some policies have been regrouped as “atomic policy groups” for Chrome Browser and Chrome OS. This means that if you choose to enable “atomic policy groups,” policies in a single group will all be forced to set their behavior based on the highest priority source. You can enable atomic policy groups using PolicyAtomicGroupsEnabled

You can see if there are any conflicting policies from different sources at chrome://policy. Note: If you have multiple policies in the same policy group from different sources, they will be affected by this feature. Read about Atomic Policy Groups or check out this article on Chrome policy management to learn more. 

Chrome OS and Chrome Browser settings split
Chrome has historically shared a single settings surface for both OS and browser configuration for users. However, from Chrome 78 on, we will be splitting Chrome OS and browser configurations into two. This allows the OS settings to be developed independently, while still providing the consistent, customizability Chrome Browser users have grown to expect.

Settings on Chrome OS will now have native OS settings housed in the “Settings” app (available via Launcher or when you click the settings icon in the Quick Settings menu).  Chrome Browser settings will not change and can still be accessed in the familiar three-dot menu in the top right corner of the browser app. 

Tip: Enterprise Admins that block Chrome Browser settings by URL (chrome://settings) might also want to block the new URL for Chrome OS settings (chrome://os-settings).

To stay in the know, bookmark this Help Center page that details new releases, or sign up to receive new release details as they become available.