Good news for Chromebook owners, especially at schools: Google is extending software support for the laptops from eight years to 10.
The company announced the news when educators and environmentalists have been complaining about expiring Chromebooks generating e-waste.
In a blog post, Google said: “Starting in 2024, if you have Chromebooks that were released from 2021 onwards, you’ll automatically get 10 years of updates. For Chromebooks released before 2021 and already in use, users and IT admins will have the option to extend automatic updates to 10 years from the platform’s release when they receive their last automatic update.”
The extra two years of support will apply to Chromebook models released from 2019 and onwards, the company added. A Google support document lists the various expiration dates for the automatic updates.
The change promises to provide some relief for schools dealing with a glut of expiring Chromebooks, which saw massive sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the Google-powered laptops lose software support, the lack of updates can cause the devices to struggle to access certain apps and services, such as an online state testing websites for students. That can be different from a laptop running a no-longer supported Windows OS; although it won’t receive anymore software patches, it can still run third-party programs.
The other problem is that manufacturers can neglect to sell the necessary repair parts to fix broken Chromebooks, according to a study from the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The same study found that doubling the lifespan of these Chromebooks for all US K-12 students could save taxpayers $1.8 billion.
(Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Google has been aware of the complaints. Back in 2020, the company extended the software updates for the Chromebooks to eight years. Now the tech giant is expanding the updates to a decade “to help them stay secure, efficient and long-lasting,” Google says.
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“Chromebooks also continue to lead the industry in environmental impact,” the company added. “They’re now built with more post consumer recycled materials (PCR). Plus, we’re launching new improvements in power efficiency and quicker processes to repair them. And at the end of their usefulness, we continue to help schools, businesses and consumers find the right recycling option.”
The US PIRG Education Fund, which has been urging Google to lengthen the support cycle, called the news a “victory” for students, parents and advocates demanding longer-lasting laptops at schools.
“With a lifespan of 10 years, fewer working laptops will be disposed of because they’ve reached their ‘death date,’” the group said. “Google and other tech companies should continue to innovate ways to commit to a circular economy and stop pressuring us to replace our phones and laptops.”
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The post Amid Complaints, Google to Add Another 2 Years of Updates for Chromebooks first appeared on www.pcmag.com