If you have looked for a new laptop lately there’s a chance that some techy friend or relative has suggested a Chromebook to you. There are many strong arguments in favor of these new devices but they are…different. Let’s get to know the Chromebook, a bit about how it works and its pros and cons.
How it works, what’s different.
Chromebooks are able to offer a quick laptop, office suite, cloud backup, and good security all for a price that is usually well below laptops running Windows. How do they do that? The secret is that Chromebooks themselves don’t have to have as much power to get things done; they depend on Google servers to provide the muscle. But, what does that mean? You can think of a Windows based laptop as both a window to internet and a machine to perform tasks. Chromebooks are more just a window to the internet, however, Google makes it possible to accomplish the same tasks online. You can write a word document, backup your files, or make a photo collage all using tools available in your Google account. As a bonus, anything you create from these tools will be autosaved securely on the cloud making lost files a thing of the past. For more about Google tools and your Google account Click Here.
So, much of what goes on “under the hood” of a Chromebook is very different from a PC you are probably used to but how much difference does that make to you? The answer varies based on how you will use your Chromebook. If you simply need an internet machine to check email, do some online banking or shopping, or view photos synced from an android device then you will probably never know the difference. After all, nobody does the internet like Google!! Here are some differences to consider.
Laptops can be used for creating many types of files as well (documents, pictures, and spreadsheets are all types of files). A PC will use installed programs (Microsoft Office or Adobe Reader) to create and work with files where a Chromebook does not allow you to install software but only use it to create on the cloud. You are limited to the available google programs, though they are plentiful, so if you need a special program you will not be able to use it on a Chromebook.
Location is key!! Remember that PCs create and save files in the machine and Chromebooks create and save files on cloud servers. Two things differ greatly between a PC and a Chromebook: saving files and sharing files. On a PC when you create a document and save it you are making it a place to live; on a Chromebook when you create a document it makes a place on the cloud for it to live and then autosaves to that place. This is a small but important distinction and becomes important when sharing the file via email or posting to social media. A PC has the files located in it so sharing is as simple as browsing and uploading or attaching. The Chromebook must download a copy of the files from Google Drive so that it is located on the machine for sharing out to friends.