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Google Chrome OS Review and Review



Chrome OS is Google's cloud-enabled desktop operating system. This network-focused operating system requires mostly affordable chromebooks, and offers a low-cost desktop program for those with modest resources or basic needs. Affordable, along with Google's online productivity applets, has made the operating system popular in the education market. Recent addition to the ability to run Android apps has revived the OS and millions of new software choices, even though support for these apps is inconsistent. With the big integration that is still underway, Chrome OS feels like an ongoing work, one that does not fit high computer requirements. Nevertheless, for the right users, Chrome OS is a strong choice.

The OS has actually come a long way. When Chrome OS was released, it was little more than a version of Ubuntu that ran just an app: Chrome browser. Google's desktop OS has added many opportunities since then, as redirected windows and great printing options, as well as the Android app support. Using a chromebook while offline was problematic in the first few days of the operating system, but now they offer decent offline functionality thanks to OS updates.

Price and Hardware Options

Google does not provide Chrome OS installation media available as Ubuntu and Windows 1

0 do. It is only officially available on Google sanctioned devices, most of which fall into the chromebook and chromebox categories. Since the operating system code is open source as part of the Chrom OS project, other developers have produced installers including (early) Hexxen Flow and NeverwareCloudReady. You can, with some gumption, try to install Chromium OS on regular PC hardware as it is available, but you may encounter hardware compatibility. Most users will purchase hardware with the operating system pre-installed.

  Google Pixelbook

I tested Chrome OS on a Google Pixelbook from 2017, a much better hardware than most Chrome OS users (usually signed with the low price of chromebooks) will probably have. Most chromebooks cluster around the $ 300 price point. My testPixelbook is a first-class hardware with a high-resolution (2,400-16400 pixel) touch screen with stylus input capability, a Core i7 CPU and 512GB SSD retails for a cool $ 1,649, although the lowest specific Pixelbook starts on the $ 999 list.

Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the first Chrome OS tablet without a keyboard, recently debuted, but it is only available to the education market. Our hardware analyst Tom Brant thinks it's good says: "There are several areas where Android, IOS and Windows tablets are much easier for consumers."

Since Chrome OS is primarily a cloud-connected operating system, it's strange that it's almost impossible to find a Chromebook with LTE in production. Google's previous Chromebook Pixel included this option, but the current Pixelbooks do not. I could not find any LTE-enabled chromebooks for sale from other hardware vendors either. Google representatives told me that the operating system still supports LTE, and some hardware vendors have announced machines that have not yet been featured on the market.

A few recent Chrome OS hardware options are chromebases and chromebits. The former are all-in-one PCs from LG and Acer, although they no longer seem to be producing. Chromebits are very small devices similar to Intel Compute Stick, designed to connect to an HDTV to provide data processing capabilities.

For external devices, Chrome OS works with USB keyboards, mouse and hubs, as well as select Bluetooth devices. It also supports displays connected with DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI and VGA. The mouse and display support alone make Chrome OS a better choice for any business user than iOS on an iPad. However, be aware that you may not find Chrome OS hardware drivers for some external devices.

Storage. When I connected a USB flash drive (Pixelbook only has the less common USB C port but luckily I have a USB-C key storage key), the operating system identified the correct storage and opened a file browser window. Note that the operating system mimics Apple's macOS because it annoys a warning when you unplug the USB key without first telling the operating system you want to unload. Windows only deals with the inevitable without hiding.

A major issue is that Chrome OS does not support network storage as found in some of the popular Synology NAS devices, for example. This is especially important for people with large media like photo, video and audio files that they want to save locally for quick access.

Displays. Chrome OS has decent multi-monitor support. When I connected Pixelbooks USB C port to an HDMI adapter and a widescreen display, the system immediately increased the display to the external monitor. It also lets you mirror or turn off the main screen.

Network Adapter. Most people will set up a Chrome OS computer with a Wi-Fi connection, but it supports Ethernet adapters for those who need a wired connection.

Printers. I had less luck with printers and Chrome OS. My Pixelbook could not automatically detect and install a local network printer like MacOS and Windows can, but you can manually enter an IP address and download a driver. Unfortunately, a Chrome OS driver was not available for the Brother HL-4150CDN printer. Chrome OS supports five Internet Printing Protocols and Line Printer Daemon. It also supports Google Cloud Print enabled printers. If you have one of the latter, the setup is much easier. You only select "Add a nearby printer" in the Settings.

What about Multiboot? You can boot Windows on a Mac using Boot Camp, and you can boot Ubuntu on a Windows PC (or MacOS if you are very brave and knowledgeable). Chrome OS does not support any kind of multibooting; CloudReadys Chrome OS distro supported the opportunity for a while, but retired in June 2018. However, it has been reported that Google is working on an option for dual boot of the Windows 10 option in Chrome OS.

Bluetooth and Miracast. On testing, my chromebook showed my smartphones, PCs, TVs, speakers, headphones, and more over Bluetooth. You can synchronize a smartphone, as mentioned above, to use for fast two-factor authentication. Viewing your Chromebook or box screen on a big TV is a cinch; just select the Cast Casting Available option from the status bar to the right.

  Welcome to Chrome OS

Getting Started: Configure Chrome OS

To get started with a Chrome OS, just upload your Chrome Book and press the power button. The first screen has you to choose languages ​​and accessibility options. The latter includes ChromeVox (speech feedback), large mouse pointer, high contrast mode, display amplifier and on-screen keyboard.

Connect to the Internet. Like most device setup these days, the first step is to connect to the internet. Once you're connected, you must accept the license terms and decide if you want to send usage data back to Google. I have chosen Google already knows a lot about me. The setup wizard checked for, found and installed updates.

Google is watching. Then you need to sign in to a Google Account. Windows, Mac and Ubuntu let you use your computer without an account, but it's just not an option with Chrome OS. So if you're hesitant to have all your activity stored on Google servers, there's probably another operating system that's better for you.

After signing in to a Gmail account, I noticed that my settings were syncing and that my browser history would be used to "customize search, ads, and other Google services." You can change these settings on the Google Activity Control page.

Get ready for Android. Then comes an Android app feature and accepts Google Play's Terms of Service. This means you agree to store app data on Google Drive. It also means sharing your location with Google Location Services, and allowing apps to automatically download and update.

  Chrome OS Permissions

When done, the desktop appears at the end ! The Google Voice Setup pops up first, which involves a few more privacy permissions. One is to let the tool create a unique sound model of your voice.

  Chrome OS Assistant

After giving an assistant, Chrome OS takes you through a short but enjoyable trip with all its charms, highlighting POIs along the way.

A feather in the Chrome OS cap is the easy way you can switch users, even though macOS and windows also do this simply. Chrome OS also adds the ability to easily log in as a guest account. At the bottom of the lock screen, select Browse as guest and Add person. Guests can not install apps, either web or Android, but interestingly, they can download files.

Unlike Windows, Android, and iOS, you can not log in with biometric devices like fingerprint readers or face scanners, as you can with Windows and Mac (as long as you have a MacBook with a touch bar). You may want to use a PIN to unlock your computer, and a beta feature lets you do the same with an Android phone. However, you must still log in with a full password at startup. Surprisingly, the PIN and the passwords you choose have no security requirements. I could put my as 123456 and 111111. You will want to use more secure passwords.

When you are up (and even before that), a well-designed and thorough Getting help app can help you move to, set up and use your Chrome OS.

  Chrome OS Help

Interface and Winning: Getting around OS

Unlike most desktop operating systems, the Chrome OS desktop does not allow you to find icons for apps and files. Instead, use Launcher or Dock. The launcher, a circular button at the bottom left, looks like the Windows Start button and MacOS Launchpad.

  Launcher

 </em></strong>  <em> <strong> Launcher. </strong></em><strong> </strong>  This utility <em> </em>  provides quick access to apps and search. However, Chrome OS's version of launch is less functional than Windows Start, which also provides access to settings, power, and larger tiles to your favorite apps, which is especially useful with touchscreens. Launcher looks like more MacOS & Launchpad. </p>
<p>  <strong> <em> Shelf. </em></strong>   The dock or taskbar near the bottom of the screen, as Google rings <em> shelf </em>only contains some Google Apps by default. After you have run an app, such as Google Photo, from the app panel that is slid up when you press the launch button, there is no separate icon for it in the dock. Only apps you stick out will appear there. Windows and MacOS, however, always show your icons to run apps in the dock / taskbar. Gmail and Google Drive, <em>however, make </em> icons by default and it's not possible to remove the Chrome icon from the shelf. </p>
<p>  These hypocrites have no functionality to talk about. For example, in Windows, you can pause or jump back and forward from the Spotify app taskbar icon, or see the last more documents that were opened in a productivity app with Jump Lists. Chrome OS connects the only options to the app and automatically hides the shelf. I like to point to a cache again, minimizes the app, a convenience not found in MacOS, but long lasting in Windows. Tofing by touching an app icon on the shelf, you can view the information or uninstall it. </p>
<p><div align=  Files Window

Files window. The Chrome OS files window is a strange duck. Unlike other desktop operating systems, it is primarily concerned with files stored on Google Drive. The only local folder is called Downloads, but fortunately you can add subfolders to it. There are also top level folders for images, videos and audio, but it is not clear whether they are local or cloud-hosted. 2-finger print allows you to open a file info panel.

  Status Tray Menu

Status Brake Menus. This band on the right of the shelf shows time, Wi-Fi status, and battery status. If you click on it, you can adjust the volume, log out of your account and view the VPN status (if you have one installed). Hardwired keyboard buttons, like those on Mac, make it easy to adjust the volume and brightness. The Windows 10 Action Center offers configurable Quick Action tiles to make changes to the flight setting, such as flight mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a dozen more options that I prefer.

Keyboard shortcuts. The operating system offers most of the default keyboard shortcuts, like Ctrl-F, to find, Ctrl-Z to undo, and Ctrl-V is to be pasted. The hardwired search key opens Google Assistant, but it does not show newer and commonly used apps that the Windows key does, even less open a touch-sensitive tile menu. Two good keys are the task switch and the whole screen; MacOS has it before, but the latter is unique and a good idea. Taking screenshots is as easy as in the two leading desktop OSs; You simply press the Ctrl Taskbar and a thumbnail appears at the bottom right so you open, annotate, or copy the resulting image to the clipboard.

Also useful is an option in a Chrome OS app Settings panel that lets you open it as a window instead of a browser tab, but sometimes this shows the address bar at the top, destroys the illusion that it's a true app. Some times you click an option in such an app returns to open the browser.

There is no right-click functionality at all, but much of what you want to do with a right-click can instead be accomplished with a quick two-finger press the touchpad. Hardwired keyboard buttons perform some tasks available with keyboard combinations on other OSs.

Window Manipulation. The behavior and manipulation of the window works differently depending on whether you are running a Chrome or Android app. Firstly, you'll usually see browser tabs, even though you can fully screen the view so the app looks like its own device, without browser tabs and menu. Compatible Android apps can run fullscreen, but sometimes you need to launch the app to do it. When you resize these, these apps often return to a smartphone size window. Some Android apps let you resize your taste, but many are all or nothing, fullscreen or phone size.

Chrome app windows can be pulled to the edge of the screen to fill half of it exactly, but not with most Android apps. And there's no quarterly view that you get with Windows by dragging a window heading to any corner. You can not drag a fullscreen program down from the main text either. When using the applet (Alt-Tab), the app tiles do not flip out as in Windows and MacOS, and instead you roll out of the view.

As with all consumer OSs, you will replace the desktop wallpaper with a picture you like. There is no night view like Apple's Night Shift or Windows Night Light, to save your eyes from destroying blue light during late night computing, but Google is working on this as shown by beta versions of the operating system. There is not even a shortcut or control to show the desktop without the running apps, but it's not important here since you can not add icons for apps or documents to your desktop. More virtual desktops like those offered by macOS and windows are not available in Chrome OS; you just get it.

All this may be insignificant for students or new users of the operating system, but if you are used to macOS or windows, it feels a lot as limiting and inconvenient.

Touch Screen and Pen Support

I love to print a button on my Windows 10 touch screen, and then I save from the Carpal tunnel stress by moving the mouse to the right place and performing another click with the mouse button. There is no option on macOS, but Chrome OS offers this convenience, as in iPads.

However, I would like to see more useful gestures, such as sweep in from the sides of the screen. When you do it on Windows 10, the left side shows the task switch, any additional desktop and timeline view. When you swipe in from the right, you'll see the Action Center. The same movements in Chrome only go back and forth in your browser history, which you can also swipe in the browser window in both OSs.

  Status Tray Menu

I appreciate that keyboard keypad keypad supports swipe text entry. But I wish there was a shared keyboard layout option, which is easier to use when holding the computer like a tablet with two hands.

I tested the operating system stylus feature with $ 99 Pixelbook Pen. The system's handwriting recognition is excellent and on par with Windows 10's, but you can only use it on apps that support it. In Windows, handwriting is a keyboard mode on the screen, so it works with all text input fields. You can also use the pen to circle objects on the screen and get information from Google Assistant about them after clicking the button on the pen. You can start a Google Keep note with the pen yourself from the lock screen.

For more artistic pencil work, Infinite Painter shows the Android app Chrome OS is up to the latest data billing standards, for me, at least that matches Surface Pro and iPad Pros pens, even though I'm not an artist. The app offers a wide range of brush types.

Search and speech assistant

As Windows & # 39; Cortana & Apple Siri, Google Assistant lets you use your voice to play music and podcasts, ask general knowledge and check weather, calendar, share prices or sports points. You can open applications as either their web or Android versions. The assistant's sidebar allows you to select. When I first tried to use the assistant to send an email, it did not work with the Gmail app for preinstalled web-i had to install the Android app. After this, composing and sending the job has failed.

  Search Assistant

You can control all your smart home computers. Turn on Philips Hue light, watch smart thermostat temperatures – as you can with other digital assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Siri. Google Assistant also lets you set reminders and timers. I could not send texts or call as you can with Apple's ecosystem and with Skype. As with Cortana you are stuck with one voice; Siri gives you a good selection of sex and nationalities.

Another difference between Assistant and the other OS versions is that there is no button or keyboard shortcut to launch it in Listening Mode. When the assistant appears, click the microphone icon. With Cortana and Siri, you can start the service listening mode with a keystroke. Google Assistant will not let you log out or turn off your computer using your voice as you can with Cortana. Conversely, Google Assistant can take a screenshot, while Cortana can not.

Web Apps

Chrome OS now has two types of apps and two app stores, which sometimes lead to weird listings. For example, installing a web and Android version of the same app results in two identical icons for two times very different apps. Of course, only about any web app on a Chrome book, but sometimes web apps are not as full as installed applications. For example, although Microsoft offers a near-parity version of Word online with Word Online, there are some details that make the installed version preferable. Chrome web apps in the store decrease in number and get AAA quality.

  Chrome Web App Store

Of course, the browser is the centerpiece of Chrome OS, and while Chrome is a top choice among browsers, there are occasions when you may want an option. You can get Firefox in the Android Store, but it's not as functional as desktop version on Mac and PC. Edge, Firefox and Safari also offer distraction-free reading modes for messy websites. Edge and Safari also have convenient sharing icons to quickly send a page to Twitter, Email, Messenger, WhatsApp or any other communication app.

Firefox super-use Containers feature that lets you run different instances of different sites as different users It is not available in the Android version. For example, with containers, you can keep different Gmail accounts open in different tabs and get notifications for both. I also rely on Edge's right-click option to look up the selected text in a sidebar and save you from opening a new browser tab.

Another difference: You can not zoom in on documents with the mouse wheel. Instead, it zooms the entire interface. The same goes for Google Docs. I also found that the document's section spacing was not shown correctly in the web version. I like how to maximize the browser in Chrome OS version make the web app to a default app since it removes the browser's title bar and menu at the top.

Mail. An important embedded app in a desktop operating system is email. Windows, Mac, and iOS all include polished apps that let you manage and view multiple email accounts, but Chrome OS points you to the browser by default. Of course, a wealth of android mail clients are ready to increase this.

Photo editing. I was surprised not to find the impressive Google Photos app by default on my Chromebook Pixel test. Instead, default image editor / viewing extremely limited Gallery app, which offers only brightness, contrast, rotation, and slideshow. Both MacOS and Windows are included. Photo editing programs are far more proficient, and it's Google's only app for images online.

Google Photo is not even included as a Chrome app in Chrome Web Store, but you can install it as a website link. And the reasonably powerful Befunky, Polarr and Fotor are in the store. Google Play Store offers more options. If you just want to snap a photo or video from your Chrome OS computer, the included Camera app, even though it's more basic that what you get with macOS or windows does the job.

Music and video. The operating system comes with a basic music player that started playing MP3s from a USB drive without any fuss. You can also use Google Play Music to stream with cloud-stored music. To play a downloaded .M4A file, I had to install a separate music player for Google Disk web browser. Of course, you can watch Netflix and Hulu and listen to Pandora and Spotify, all through their websites.

Chrome OS negotiates stores for entertainment media. These include Play Movies & TV, Play Music and Play Books. They are all well stocked and comparable to those available on MacOS and Windows, but the latter closed their music store. I appreciate that Google's bookstore offers audiobooks as well as books you have to read yourself.

Chromebooks are simply not good for video editing. A search in the Chrome Web Store for "video editors" did not show any useful, but the store's landing page highlights WeVideo. This app lets you do some basic trimming and join as well as add background music and transitions. The operating system itself offers absolutely nothing in the way of video editing, unlike Apple and Microsoft's simple yet powerful built-in tools.

The Android app store gives more potential for getting Chrome OS video editors. There you will find light versions of PowerDirector, Filmora and NCH VideoPad. But it's still far from Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Premiere Elements, both running on Mac and PC. To add insult to harm, Adobe's single Android video application, Premiere Clip, does not run on Chrome OS.

Video Call. Windows has Skype, MacOS has FaceTime, and Google Chrome OS, of course, uses Google Hangouts for video calls – with up to 25 people at a time. The service also connects voice calls to standard phones and mobiles, just like Skype. Unfortunately, you can not start a conversation using your voice assistant.

Notes. Google Keep is your included note application. It not only lets you write, but you can include colorful drawing, set reminders, and grab text from images, perfect for use with the Pixelbook pen.

Map. Windows and MacOS both include good map apps, but Chrome OS has the world's most dominant map service, although it's not an app as such and not installed by default. You can install the Android version of Google Maps, as well as MapQuest, and more.

Disconnected usage. Originally, OSOS's huge Achilles heel was lacking in offline functionality. Previously, Chrome OS devices were little more than a paper weight if you did not have an internet connection. The addition of Android apps and better offline support for Chrome Web apps addresses this issue.

Google Apps specifically has been updated for offline use; Run, Gmail and other search engine apps now work offline. You can also play locally downloaded or USB-connected media. In the Chrome Web App Store, you can filter results by running offline, although the only recognizable names I saw were Pocket, useful for reading web pages offline, and Polarr, a pretty skilled image editor.

The emergence of progressive web apps, or PWAs, supported by most modern browsers, should be a blessing for Chrome OS. These default web pages use non-support alerts, and custom windows. Support for PWAs has appeared in Chrome pre-beta building.

Running Android Apps

The Google Play store is far stronger than the online store. Installing Android apps from the Google Play store on Chrome OS is a cinch, and luckily the store is displayed on the desktop OS, customized. For example, you'll see groups of programs titled Create and Organize on Chromebook and Chromebook Games. As we saw with Apple's mobile video editor, not all Android apps run on Chrome OS.

  Play Shop on Chrome OS

Another well thought-out convenience with regard to the two app types is that when you run an app that has both types, such as Word, you'll see a message like Ask who will drive.

But not all is good in Chrome OS countries for Android. Some apps appear only in the small-size screen layout, and some have draggable handles to resize while others still only work in fullscreen mode. Many require a reboot only to switch between full screen and windowed mode.

A slight disadvantage is that the back arrow in the top left of most app windows closes the app, not good if you expect it to work like all other such arrows and take you back . Another is that Android apps usually assume that they are running on a phone so you probably need to use touch input instead of the keyboard. The list of minor irritations continues. The short story is that yes, you can run Android apps, some successful and others not, but the experience is overwhelmingly inconsistent. A serious issue with several Android apps I tried was that they could not connect to the Internet even though the laptop was connected to a fast Ethernet connection.

The biggest problem for Chrome OS users is that there are two very different application systems. How do you know which app store you want to search initially when looking for a new app, let alone how to distinguish between two identical apps? It also means remembering two different places to manage the settings, two ways to update them, and so on.

Integration with mobile phone

With regard to mobile and desktop integration, Apple is the right way to beat. Its continuity features let you move work and play seamlessly between iOS and macOS, and you can even write text and launch FaceTime calls from multiple devices using the same account. Although Windows no longer has a thriving mobile version, the operating system offers a lot of continuity between its Android and IOS apps and the desktop version. These features include Continue on PC, Pick Up Where I Quit, and Device Lock. Edge, Cortana, Skype and Bing mobile apps enable this.

As mentioned above, you can use an Android phone to sign in to your Chrome OS computer. You can also sync browser favorites, history; Basically everything in your Google Accounts, Email, Documents, and YouTube videos – Transfers between your Android phone and Chrome OS computer. The rumor has that the integrated Android text messages come to a future version of the operating system (something you can already do with Windows). For øyeblikket kan du bruke Android Meldinger på nettet, WhatsApp eller Facebook Messenger, for å gjøre meldinger på Chrome OS-datamaskinen din.

En fin funksjon: Hvis du kobler en Android-telefon til en Chrome-portens USB-port, kan du bla gjennom, åpne eller kopier eventuelle filer på telefonen, men det er også mulig på Windows og MacOS, siden det er mer en funksjon i Android enn Chrome OS.

Personvern og sikkerhet

Google sier at Chrome OS har flere sikkerhetsnivåer , starter med verifisert oppstart, automatiske oppdateringer og sandboxing (kjører programmer i en beholder som ikke har tilgang til resten av systemet). Det siste gjelder både web- og Android-apper. Nettprogrammer benytter seg av kryptering, og bare ved å ha en appbutikk som Android betyr at apper er overvåket for sikkerhet. Selv om OS oppdateres, finner sted automatisk, kan du sjekke Innstillinger> Om panel for å sjekke om versjonen din er den siste.

Bare det faktum at Chrome OS-enheter ikke er en veldig stor angrepsflate, med mindre enn 1 prosent av stasjonær datamaskin markedet (ifølge både StatCounter og NetMarketShare), gir en viss grad av sikkerhet. Men ingen plattform er 100 prosent sikker, og tillegget av Android-funksjonalitet legger til trusler, siden Google av og til rydder skurk Android-apper fra butikken. Those and Chrome extensions are the most likely malware vectors. There&#39;s no third-party security software specifically for Chrome OS, but I successfully installed and scanned with Android Malware protection from AVG, which offers Android app install protection and phishing protection.

What happens if your computer is lost or stolen? Chrome OS features a decent set of recovery tools. If you lose your machine, you can find all of your cloud-synced files and apps by simply signing into your Google account. Of course, that doesn&#39;t include any locally downloaded files, however. You can wipe the device remotely and remove it from your Google account, but you can&#39;t pinpoint its exact location, as you can with Android phones, Apple Macs, and Microsoft Surface computers.

There&#39;s no equivalent to Windows 10&#39;s Refresh option, which clears out unnecessary muck in the system accrued over a period of computing—something also lacking in macOS. There are, however, Reset and Powerwash options in Settings. The first just resets browser options, and the second is a factory reset that removes all account and personalization info.

VPNs are a hot topic in security of late, and my esteemed colleague Max Eddy has explored how to use a VPN with Chrome OS. The story is somewhat complicated, but the upshot is that using an Android app for your VPN works best on Chrome OS.

Reliability is related to security, and I was surprised that at times during testing an app or the system shut down unexpectedly. For example, a few times when I had several browser tabs open and several apps running, the system stopped responding. Once, it even restarted without warning after installing an Android game and again when installing the Yelp Android app. Luckily, since I wrote this document on the Pixelbook, Chrome OS automatically saved my review before the restart and let me resume without missing a beat.

Gaming

The addition of Android app support is a boon to Chrome OS gaming. While there is a selection of casual games on the Chrome Web Store, the Play store adds a vastly larger set of games. However, these are not the AAA titles you find on consoles and PCs. There&#39;s no Steam for Chrome OS, but if you want to play Minecraft, Candy Crush, Roblox, or even Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes in the mobile version, you&#39;re covered by Android versions.

I recommend sticking with apps designed for tablets (you can filter these in Play). Even better, only install those with Editors&#39; Choice designations. Some games simply don&#39;t play nice on Chrome OS since they assume the end user&#39;s device is a smartphone.

Managing Chrome OS Machines

Chrome OS is particularly popular in the education market and as such, you can easily manage multiple computers using the OS. The Admin Console lets managers set policies for all chromebooks in their domain, but this requires a G Suite license for the group. Admins can even force or restrict the installation of Android apps—a must, given the store&#39;s huge selection of apps, not all of which are benign. Google has published a deployment document for managers who need these functionalities.

Of course, Windows has a long head start in machine management with granular control using Windows Domains and Active Directory, while Apple is light on these capabilities, requiring third-party software. It&#39;s also worth noting that Windows is the only desktop OS with Mixed Reality capability, important for the education market. Google is working with device makers to include support for its ARCore augmented reality technology.

Another variety of management is that of parents managing their children&#39;s computing activities. The cheap price of chromebooks makes them appealing for supplying kids with computers, so strong parental controls would seem a must. Parents can create child accounts in Google&#39;s Family Link service, and then sign the whippersnapper into the Chrome OS computer using those accounts. This way, the child can&#39;t install any apps from either app store, can&#39;t use private browsing mode, and can&#39;t view adult sites that Google is able to block. The parent can also use a whitelist to only allow the child to visit specific sites.

As for monitoring, only the child&#39;s Chrome history is available. Android apps get short shrift with these parental controls,, and judging by their recent entry to Chrome OS and Google&#39;s emphasis on usage limitation in Android Pie, we should see more Android parental controls in Chrome OS down the road. According to Google&#39;s support pages, "Features like screen time limits, remote device locking, apps from Google Play, and location reporting are not available yet for your child&#39;s chromebook."

As for troubleshooting and recovery, Chrome OS does offer an app that lets you create recovery media, should the system become unusable. Even though Google&#39;s official Help doesn&#39;t acknowledge its existence, there is a Task Manager, accessible with Shift-Esc, that shows you memory, disk, and network usage for all running processes and lets you hard shut them down if you see something behaving badly.

Accessibility Features

Chrome OS is admirably equipped with accessibility features. Navigate to Settings > Advanced > Accessibility to get started. Here, you can enable text to speech with ChromeVox, which reads everything on the screen; ultra-high-contrast screen mode; screen zoom; sticky keys; and automatic clicking when the mouse cursor rests. You can add a few more accessibility features, such as caret browsing, from the Chrome Web store.

Is Chrome OS Shiny Enough?

Google&#39;s desktop operating system&#39;s support for hardware, applications, and interface niceties are hardly state-of-the art, but it&#39;s actually possible to do most everyday business and personal computing with a Chrome OS device. Many essential apps are available as web apps—Asana, Slack, Spotify, Microsoft Word, Lightroom, some content management systems, and of course Google Docs. In fact, this review was written mostly on the test Pixelbook. It&#39;s mostly a matter of making do without some windowing and interface conveniences. For those who just want to browse the web, use online productivity tools, compose email, and maybe play casual games, Chrome OS is a usable and affordable option.


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