The User Settings option in Google Chrome is a useful feature that allows you to setup user account for various users, but it has been overlooked by many users, despite that it has been around since late 2011. However, with recent news that parental controls (actually titled “Managed User Controls”) will also be coming to this feature of the browser (in fact, it is now active in the latest Chrome-Canary builds), it seems a good time to take a look at how to setup and manage this feature and take a first look at the Managed User Controls you can expect soon.
We will start with what you can do now – User Settings. This provides excellent management over the web browser, allowing you to setup other household members with separate user experiences.
To access it, go to the Settings page of Google Chrome and scroll down till you see the “Users” section. From here, you will spot three buttons – “Add new user”, “Delete this user” and “Import bookmarks and settings”.
Click “Add new user”. You will find options, albeit very few of them, to configure for the new account. You can enter a name for the person and choose an icon for them, although the choices are limited and this can not be customized. A desktop shortcut for this sign-on can also be created, and this option is ticked by default.
Once created, the new user will appear in the box above and clicking on them will allow you to edit or delete them. If they have a Google account, you can also import bookmarks and settings to their account.
Clicking on “Import bookmarks and settings” produces a box with everything checked by default. This will include browsing history, bookmarks, saved passwords and search engines.
Now that this fairly easy step is covered, it is time to move on to what you can expect from Chrome in the very near future – or now, if you choose to run the nightly experimental builds known as “Canary”.
The new settings are not there right away, you will have to enable them. To do this, point the browser to “
chrome://flags“. You can scroll down and look for it, but it’s much easier to simply hit “Ctrl + F” and type “managed”, then enable “Supervised Users”. Now search for another flag named “New Profile Management System” and enable this one as well
Now, let’s revisit the Users section in Settings and, once again click “Add new user” to see what is now there that is different from the above image.
As you can see in the above image, there is now an extra box at the bottom of the screen which, when checked, enables the new account to be a “supervised user”. The admin will be able to restrict usage for this person in various ways, those have not yet been added, so its unclear, at this early stage, just what this will be. It seems likely that certain web sites will be disabled.
Given that the feature is still experimental, even in Canary, means it is a ways off, but is at least on the way. Hopefully, when it is fully finished, users will have fairly good control over these managed accounts, and be able to pick and choose what they wish to disable for any given person. For now, at least, you can give your family members their own accounts to customize as they see fit.