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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

Google Chromebooks: I'll show you how to make the move (part 4)

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 @ 04:00 AM

Guest blog article by Steve Loosley, Tech Blogger

If you’ve been with us, you’re an expert on Chromebooks, Google’s fast-on-the-web, super secure, continuously improving notebook computers. In this post, I want to help you make the move to a Chromebook, by showing you what I did.


My first step to prepare for a Chomebook was moving my email to Gmail. Importing my Mac address book was straightforward, and to my surprise, I could even use a custom domain with Gmail. Today, I use Gmail in a web browser, along with its many features from labs to filters.


Like many of you, I had a large library of photos, most of which were stored on my hard drive. I knew this had to change. After exploring many good options, I settled on SmugMug. I uploaded my entire library to SmugMug, where all of my images are now stored.


I began creating all new documents and spreadsheets in Google Docs, and over time, I created new web-versions of existing, highly used spreadsheets. Also, I uploaded my archive of old documents, which was a breeze thanks to recent enhancements in Google Docs.


Coming from the Mac world, I had purchased music through iTunes. Although my music library wasn't large, I didn’t want to give it up, so I uploaded my music to Amazon Cloud Drive and to Google Music Beta.

I prefer Google Music because of the seamless integration. More recently, I’ve been testing web-streaming services, ranging from Pandora to Sky.fm, and from Grooveshark to Rdio, all of which I’ve come to enjoy.


One of the most difficult steps in my transition has been our personal checkbook. We had years of data stored in a desktop application. I found the online, cloud-checkbook services lacking, so imported the data into a Google Spreadsheet. Amazingly, I can sort and filter the 2,000 row spreadsheet with ease. Since we pay most of our bills online, we don’t need to print checks. Google Spreadsheets is more than adequate for our needs.


GoToMeeting, which requires Java, won’t run on a Chromebook. I tried running the service by accessing a desktop computer with LogMeIn and Teamviewer, but neither worked satisfactorily. Two weeks ago, Google introduced Google Remote Desktop beta, a cross-platform application that enables you to connect any two computers with a Chrome browser. I’m excited to report that this app looks especially promising, and now I can work around the Java limitation by connecting to a traditional computer.

Current Status: Continuous Improvement

Over the last 10 months, my experience with Chromebooks has been one of continuous improvement. The Chrome operating system is a hundred times better than it was when I first booted-up a Cr-48 pilot Chromebook, and I’ve learned to overcome the apparent limitations. Today, a Samsung Chromebook is my laptop of choice.

Is anything holding me back?

No, but. A Chromebook fits my needs, but .... It’s easier to review and comment on a long Word document with Microsoft Office than Google Docs. I haven’t figured out (yet) how to scan using a Chromebook. Although I can attend a GoToMeeting using Remote Desktop, to be honest, it’s easier on a traditional computer. (Hopefully, Citrix will abandon Java.) Lastly, I’m involved in a business that uses QuickBooks, and although QuickBooks offers a cloud version, the other users are reluctant to make the move.

Will I go back?

Nope. Not a chance! I’ve spent hours and hours updating, backing up, and restoring traditional computers. Chromebooks are a dream-come-true. Someone called them “throw-away computers.” One Google employee remarked that she’s literally given hers away when asked by a co-worker.

Chromebooks have changed my computing. Yesterday, the means was often the end: keeping computers working was the work. Today, Chromebooks are the means. Without the need to worry about updates, backups, and crashes, I can focus on my work, not on keeping my computer running. In short, I’m totally sold on Chromebooks.

Now that I’ve shared my story, I want to hear yours. Will a Chromebook work for you? What's holding you back?

Additional Resources

Google Chromebooks - Google Chromebook Website

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Topics: guest bloggers, Technology