With every passing iteration of technology more and more of the things we use most move to the cloud. Google knows this, and its G Suite allows users to create, edit, and store documents safely and securely online.
Chrome, Google's market-dominating web browser, has also turned into an operating system that's unique to Chromebooks. These budget laptops running Chrome OS are cloud-powered bargains that can help everyone get work done for a fraction of the cost of a MacBook or Windows laptop.
TechRepublic's smart person's guide about Chromebooks is a quick introduction to these laptops, as well as a "living" guide that will be updated periodically as new models and features are released.
Chromebooks are any laptop that, under license from Google, runs the Linux kernel-based Chrome OS. Chrome OS is incredibly lightweight, drawing almost all of its interface from the Chrome browser. It also supports Chrome apps, and as of late 2016 will be the only platform to get new Chrome apps.
Chromebooks are manufactured by a variety of vendors, such as Google, HP, Acer, Samsung, Dell, and others. They range in price from the mid $100 range to over $1,200 for the Google Pixel. Educational pricing is available as well.
Android apps are slowly becoming available for Chromebooks too. As of this writing there are still only a few machines that have access to the Google Play store for Android, but the list continues to grow. Google plans to make Android apps available to all Chromebooks in the future, which will make them even more practical and useful.
Chrome OS is incredibly lightweight, and so are the machines that run it. They can be updated easily, wiped with minimal effort, and are inexpensive enough to be easily replaceable.
Schools and businesses are both making use of Chromebooks because of how low maintenance they are. Businesses that use G Suite can make even more use of Chromebooks: integration is simple and instant because users log in with the same Google account they use for work.
As Chrome OS continues to evolve and become more practical for everyday use Chromebooks will matter more and more. They have the potential to be cloud-based thin client laptops, potentially disrupting portable computing as we know it.
Chromebooks can affect anyone who uses a laptop and does a good portion of their work in the cloud. More and more businesses are turning to cloud hosting through systems like G Suite, meaning it doesn't matter what machine the work is being done on.
Chromebooks also affect companies that make laptops and desktops. Chromebooks overtook MacBooks in total sales earlier this year, signaling a shift in computing priorities: the cloud is king and the machine is just a terminal.
If computer manufacturers don't find a reason for consumers to buy their machines over cloud-centric Chromebooks the future might be bleak for their profit margins.
Chromebooks have been on the market since 2011, but it's just in the past few years that they've gained momentum. School districts and enterprises are adopting them rapidly, and new features make them even more enticing.
The biggest feature coming to Chromebooks in the near future is the addition of Android apps, which will likely increase sales even further.
Chromebooks are meant for people who already make use of Google's suite of applications. While G Suite use isn't a prerequisite for owning a Chromebook it makes getting up and running much easier.
Chromebooks can be purchased at retailers like BestBuy right now, or online directly from Google. Don't dive into a Chromebook before doing your research, though: the market is huge and features vary greatly. Google has a guide for finding the right Chromebook and it's worth going through to find the one that will work best for you.
Google is making a change to image search today that sounds small but will have a big impact: it’s removing the “view image” button that appeared when you clicked on a picture, which allowed you to open the image alone.
3 years, 2 months ago
Looking for a new job is getting easier. Google today launched a new jobs search feature right on its search result pages that lets you search for jobs across virtually all of the major online job boards like LinkedIn, Monster, WayUp, DirectEmployers, CareerBuilder and Facebook and others. Google will also include job listings its finds on a company’s homepage.
3 years, 10 months ago
Google is planning to add an ad blocker to Chrome, its web browser, and to possibly turn it on by default for all users. That seems counterintuitive for a company that makes the majority of its revenue (read: all the monies) from advertising, but it could actually be a way to beat blockers by becoming one itself, per a new Wall Street Journal report that first reported the news.
3 years, 12 months ago