Google Testing Parental Controls in Beta Chrome Browser

The new beta Chrome browser tools will allow parents to set limits on their youngsters by designating them as "supervised users."


Google's latest beta Chrome Web browser includes settings that now allow parents to designate their youngsters as "supervised users" so they can oversee their browsing and other online activities.

The new capabilities are included in the latest beta Chrome browser version, which is being refined as an eventual stable release of the open-source Web browser.

"As someone who has helped numerous family members get online for the first time, I know how rewarding it can be," Pam Greene, a Google Chrome team software engineer, wrote in an Oct. 22 post on the Google Chrome Blog. "I enjoy sitting down with my daughter, watching her eyes light up at new favorites we find together on the Web. Like many of you, I also find it important to keep family members protected from Websites that may be inappropriate. To help those who may need some guidance browsing the Web, we're kicking off a beta channel preview of a new feature called supervised users."

The new beta feature will make it easier for owners of Chromebooks and other devices that can run Chrome browsers to share them with their children, who can be set up with their own parent-overseen user accounts, wrote Greene. "This means once you've created a supervised user for [the child] on your Chromebook, you'll be able to visit to review a history of Web pages he has visited, determine sites that you want to allow or block, and manage permissions for any blocked Websites he has requested to view."

The new beta feature is now available to be tried out on Chromebooks as well as on Windows, Mac and Linux machines, wrote Greene. "We hope this new feature helps you share Chromebooks [and other devices] with everyone in your family."

In September, the Chrome browser celebrated its fifth birthday. Launched in 2008 as a desktop or laptop application, Chrome today is widely used as a mobile browser on many different devices by users to browse the Web and conduct searches whether they are at home, at work, traveling or vacationing.

Chrome has had quite a ride since its birth. In June 2012, it surpassed Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the world's most used browser for the first time, and it added lots of useful features over the years to encourage even more users to adopt it.

Earlier in October, Chrome's latest iteration, Version 30, was released and included some 50 security patches and fixes, as well as easier search capabilities for finding images.

In September, Google announced that the Chrome Web browser will no longer work with a series of older, formerly popular Netscape-era Web browser plug-ins starting in January 2014, as the company works to shed the plug-ins to make its modern Chrome browsers even more reliable. The benefit of such a move will be that users will experience fewer glitches and crashes. The Netscape Plug-in API (NPAPI) had ushered in an early era of Web innovation by offering the first standard mechanism to extend the browser, according to Google. The move is being made now because NPAPI isn't used or supported on mobile devices, which includes a rapidly growing segment of Web users, and because the Mozilla Foundation is also planning to block NPAPI plug-ins in December 2013.