A new parental control feature has been spotted in the latest Developer and Canary builds of Google Chrome. Described as “supervised user”, the new feature allows parents to create less privileged user accounts on Chrome that can be used to grant kids limited and controlled access to the web.
Chrome has been supporting multiple user accounts with individual settings for a while, but this time these user accounts has been brought under the control of a supervisor account rather than existing as separate accounts entirely.
The first logged user automatically becomes the supervisor, who can then create “supervised user” accounts for other users of the browser. Currently, the supervisor can pick avatars and create desktop shortcuts. Later, the supervisor will be able to control which websites a supervised user will be allowed to view, review websites that supervised users has visited and manage other settings remotely from the page www.chrome.com/manage. These functionalities are still not there at this stage.
The user’s avatar, including that of the supervisor, is reflected at the top-left corner of Chrome’s window indicating who is currently using the browser. Clicking on it reveals a menu via which the user can switch user, or in the case of the supervisor, add new user accounts. There is also a guest browsing option that essentially launches an Incognito window. It’s strange though, that such an option should be available to a supervised user as it allows them to effectively bypass the parental monitoring.
To test the new feature, go to chrome:flags page and enable two particular experiments - “Enable supervised users” and “Enable new profile management system”. Restart Chrome.
Make sure you are using either Chrome Developer or Canary builds.