A new commit in the Chrome OS Gerrit points to an exciting new features for Chromebook users who need to access shared network resources. It looks like the platform is going to be gaining native Server Message block (SMB) support, and it may be as soon as Chrome 68
For those that may not be familiar with SMB, it is a client-server communication protocol used for sharing access to files, printers, serial ports and other resources on a network. If you have ever accessed a network based file or printer, odds are very high you accessed it via SMB.
While the commit itself only indicates that native support would be coming to Chrome OS, it didn’t indicate how or when. For that, we have the team over at Chrome Story to thank. They discovered a new flag in the Canary Channel, #native-smb which is currently based in Chrome 68. The team there tried it out but it kept crashing the File app itself. The key thing to remember is that it is Canary Channel so bugs and crashes like this are expected.
What all of this means for the day-to-day user, especially those business and education users, is that the platform is going to be a lot easier to use when it comes to accessing network resources. Today, especially for file shares, you have to use a 3rd party app from the Chrome webstore. They work… sorta? This would make accessing files on a network store or a network printer far easier going forward.