Lots more Chromebook owners now can quickly get online even when there's no Wi-Fi.
A feature called instant tethering previously let people with Google's own Chromebooks and phones quickly get online using their phone's mobile network. Once it's set up, it's just a matter of by tapping a notification to connect. Now instant tethering is spreading beyond Google's own devices.
It now works with some Chromebooks made by Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung and with some phones made by Samsung, LG, OnePlus, Motorola, Huawei and HTC, the company said Monday. More devices will get the ability in coming months.
"Before today, instant tethering was available only on a small range of devices, namely Pixelbooks and Pixel Slates paired with either Pixel or Nexus phones. But now, instant tethering is available on 15 additional Chromebook models and over 30 cell phone models," Google said in a blog post.
Tethering is handy, but it also reveals shortcomings of modern computing. It's nice to have a network, but most laptops are lost without Wi-Fi. Qualcomm and others are pushing for laptops that can tap into the much more widely available mobile networks -- 4G today and 5G soon after -- but that means a new monthly subscription payment.
Tethering is a convenient bridge. But be warned: You can quickly gobble up lots of data. Especially with laptops that fetch high-res photos and video, you can hit your monthly data cap a lot faster.