The Know It Guy

Is Chrome OS right for you? A three-query quiz to find out

Google’s Chrome OS is one of the world’s most misunderstood computing systems. Chromebooks are foundationally distinctive from conventional PCs, in any case — and consequently, there are a variety of misconceptions approximately how they paintings and what they can and can not do.

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Since humans are usually asking me whether a Chromebook might be right for his or her desires, I notion I’d put together a quick manual to assist this sort of wonderers parent it out. Whether it’s you or someone you already know who is curious, the following three questions have to help shed a few light on what the platform’s all about and for whom it makes the experience.

1. Do you spend a maximum of some time the use of the net and net-centric services?

Think carefully right here, as the answer would possibly marvel you: What do you do most usually on a computer?

If the majority of a while is spent in a web browser — whether or not it is studying information tales, surfing social media, or the use of net-centric offerings like Gmail and Google Docs — then Chrome OS might possibly meet your needs just high-quality. In truth, there is a great threat it would virtually make things less complicated than what you are used to with a traditional PC setup (more on why in a minute).

[ To comment on this story, visit Computerworld’s Facebook page. ] Now, it’s critical to notice that just because some thing is “web-centric” doesn’t necessarily imply you need to be online so as for it to paintings. One of the most common misconceptions I listen approximately Chromebooks is that they’re absolutely useless without an active internet connection. In fact, a big and ever-increasing number of Chrome OS-well suited apps works each online and off, including things like Gmail and Google Docs as well as calculator apps, calendar apps, news-reading apps, games, or even Google Play Movies. (You can browse through the “Offline” phase of Google’s Chrome Web Store for many extra examples.)

The fact is that for most people, the use of a Chromebook offline is not extraordinarily distinct than the use of a traditional PC offline. You aren’t going a good way to get on the web or down load new content material, obviously, but aside from things that inherently require an active connection, there isn’t always a heck of loads you’ll want to do that wouldn’t be to be had.

2. Do you have got particular nearby applications which you simply want, or should most of the belongings you do on a laptop be performed with net-centric (and/or Android app) equivalents?

Take a second to reflect consideration on what packages you operate which might be regionally installed in your PC — things like phrase processors, electronic mail apps, photograph and video enhancing software program, useful resource-extensive video games, or area of expertise software program you need on your paintings.

Now consider how many of the ones packages could or could not be replaced with web-centric equivalents and/or Android apps — the latter of which might be now to be had to install and use on a growing variety of Chrome OS devices (and make no mistake about it: Their presence is a pretty massive deal).

If you operate Outlook for e-mail, for example, could you be okay with using either Microsoft’s Outlook.Com or Google’s Gmail as a substitute — or with the use of the Outlook Android app? If you rely upon Microsoft Word for your PC, could Microsoft’s Office Online app or Google’s Google Docs software do the trick just as properly — or could you get by using the Word Android app, which calls for a lively subscription for full modifying functionality? If you operate Adobe Photoshop for picture editing, could a web-centric suite like Pixlr be powerful sufficient in your needs — or could one of the many Android photo-modifying apps (Adobe-made or in any other case) be sufficient to your wishes?

If the answers are “yes” or maybe “perhaps,” then Chrome OS ought to be just right for you. If, however, you have particular neighborhood software which you certainly want and that has no appropriate web-centric or Android app equivalent, entering into a Chromebook might be a stretch. While Chrome OS has plenty of viable options for not unusual normal computing duties, you are not going to find any robust multimedia editors designed for the net, nor will you locate web-centric variations of many areas of expertise enterprise programs that have been created with Windows in mind. The Android app availability may additionally fill a number of the ones voids, however it cannot cover they all (specially in relation to the custom company application category).

There is one extra asterisk to that: Google gives a simple device referred to as Chrome Remote Desktop that helps you to faucet right into a conventional PC from a Chromebook and paintings on it remotely. With that device, you could efficiently use neighborhood PC software thru the Chromebook, furnished you have got a PC it is on and available for the faraway session. It’s not completely best, however relying on your situation and the way regularly you use the local PC software, it is probably sufficient to bridge the space.

3. Try dwelling simplest within the Chrome browser for your PC for a week, with out starting any nearby applications. How does it experience?

This is the real test. And let’s be clean: In order for this to work, you’ll probably need to make some changes to your habitual — switching to net-centric apps like Docs for phrase processing if you haven’t already, uploading any pertinent files to an online storage service like Dropbox or Drive, and so on. Spend a few minutes surfing through the Chrome Web Store to discover the gear you want, then provide it an honest cross.

Optional: If you feel such as you want the presence of Android apps to bridge the distance, clutch Bluestacks — a unfastened PC- and Mac-compatible application that lets you use Android apps on a conventional-OS computer. It isn’t perfect and is some distance less native-feeling than what you’ll get with Chrome OS (it basically just places an emulated Android pill into a window to your display screen, and then you definitely click around on it to install and run whatever apps you need), however for these test-run functions, it has to be top enough to offer you a fundamental idea of what varieties of things you’ll and may not be able to do.

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