Thursday, February 19, 2015

Forever Fresh. Powerfully Simple Computing.

Chromebook

Six years ago, I had a conversation with a colleague about a phenomenon called cloud computing, and about how one day, there would be computers running on the cloud. It was construed then as something amazing and fantastical that would not happen for some time yet.  Three years after that conversation, I got myself a Chromebook - the computer powered by Google's Chrome OS.

It was slow going, but after some innovative schools took the step to adopt the Chromebook to further promote web tools in their classrooms, and with the speed that Google updates its offerings, it soon rose from being a novelty to a serious competitor in the edu space.

The advantages to buying Chromebooks for Education are clear:

Ready when you are.  The boot time of a Chromebook averages at 7 seconds, and whenever I have a friend who wants to inspect my Chromebook for the first time, it's always fun to see the look in their face at how fast you can get up and running with it, even after waking it up from sleep. I've bought a recent Acer model, but my old Samsung Chromebook still boots up as fast now as when I first bought it.

Gets everyday things done. We buy a computer to get things done - whether work or personal. With a Chromebook, there is always that fear at the beginning that it will not be able to deliver what a person needs to get things done. But the reality is that using a Chromebook exclusively for the last 3 years has made me spoiled! Just look at the list of what you can accomplish:
  • Connect. Google Hangouts has made it possible for us to do face-to-face-to-face meetings for up to 10 people, anywhere at any time, even on our Android or iOS devices.

  • Work. With tools like Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, it's easy to get work done off of a browser. And with OFFLINE functionality built-in, you can work even when not connected to the internet. 

  • Media (Music, Videos, Movies). Google Play Music and Google Play Movies are built in and allow you to stream your favorite songs and movies. In the Philippines, telcos have gone to packaging their phone promotions with music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer. Lately I've gone to streaming from these sites as well.  
  • Games. Play popular games like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and other games downloadable from the Chrome Web Store.

  • Office Files. Contrary to popular belief, the Chromebook CAN open and edit Word and Excel files. This has made the transition soooo much easier for people like me who used to come from environments that only used Office.

Easy to share. Give a family member or a friend access by using guest mode, and there's also supervised access for parents who want to get a Chromebook for their kids but are wary of harmful sites that they may visit.

Plays nicely with others. One of the things that are great about having a Chromebook is its ability to share with other devices like your phone, tablet and your old computer. As soon as I got my Chromebook, I claimed my FREE 100 GB of Google Drive storage for two years. With this storage, backing up my old files is easy peasy. And editing a photo on my Chromebook that I just took from my phone or tablet is easy with Google Drive connected on all devices.

Peace of Mind. And did I say that there's a built-in virus protection? And that you don't have to wait for updates to be downloaded and installed? All one has to do is to restart, and as soon as the Chromebook opens, it automatically runs the latest update. FOREVER FRESH. ALWAYS NEW. That alone is a great thing for workers like me who have experienced moving from one computer to the next and migrating files.

Of course, a good internet connection is best when using a Chromebook. However, moving around the country even in places with slow connection, I've found that I've still been able to work off of the browser. The proliferation of Wifi sites in the country has also helped tremendously.

So if you're looking for a cost-effective solution for your school or business, and you find that Google Apps is a great solution, then take a look at the Chromebook. It's simple, but it's amazing.