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Software

Kid-friendly 'supervised user' accounts pop up in Chrome's preview build

Android 4.3 isn't the only Google-made software getting a kid-friendly makeover. This weekend, traces of a "Supervised user" mode appeared in Chrome Canary, the early, oft-unstable preview build for the popular web browser.

Chrome has long supported multiple user profiles, but these supervised accounts--as first noticed by BrowserFame--add a more kid-friendly twist to things, as they're managed by a master account rather than being a separate account entirely.

Or, at least that's what the splash screen that appears after you've created a supervised user says. The www.chrome.com/manage page that you'll apparently use to configure restrictions and allowed websites for supervised users under your care returns a 404 error right now, which severely limits the current usefulness of the feature.

But hey! That's why it's in Canary, rather than Chrome proper, and it's encouraging to see Google making its browser more child-friendly. Don't be surprised to see supervised users pop up in Chromebooks, too--beyond merely appeasing worried parents, supervised users could also be a boon to Google's continued push to crack the education market with its low-cost hardware.

Peer into the future

If you want to see all the hub-bub for yourself, you'll need to download Chrome Canary, then open chrome://flags/ and enable the "Enable supervised users" and "Enable new profile management system" settings.

Once that's done, open Chrome's options menu and select Settings, then click the Add new user...button in the Users section. In the window that pops up, make sure to click the "This is a supervised user managed by ." Create the account, peruse the explanatory window that pops up, and you're good to go, though you can't really go far with the management website still being unpublished.

Given the feature's appearance in Canary, however, you can expect both it and the management website to be pushed out fairly soon--along with that nifty touch control support that also recently surfaced in Chrome Canary.

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