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Google Chromebook Laptop: It's Nothing Like Your Grandma's Old Computer

A Google Chromebook Review

The Chromebook Is Different

Google Chromebook is not like any computer your mom or grandma ever used. I should know. I'm a grandma, and I've had a lot of computers. At $249. It might be the perfect computer for your budget; but if you buy one, you'll have to change the way you think about computers.

It's sort of like a traditional laptop--- you know: a screen, a keyboard. It's also sort of like an Ipad because it runs apps instead of programs the way most computers do.

You can still go anywhere online you choose to go. You can still visit your favorite websites, but you do pretty much everything else with online apps. That means you must stay online and connected to Google most of the time.

It also means that your apps and Chrome Operating System update automatically. You don't have to download anything or give your Chromebook permission to install critical updates. And since you work in a browser, it also means you'll be insulated from most traditional PC targeted viruses and malware.

The $249. Google Chromebook

The $249. Google Chromebook

Navigation icons at the bottom left of the screen.

Navigation icons at the bottom left of the screen.

Ready in 10 seconds

Your grandma's computer probably takes a long time to boot up. Chromebook doesn't store programs on a hard drive, so they won't slow it down when you need to do something in a hurry. When you open it, it's ready to use in 10 seconds. When you start it up the first time you'll notice a few other differences.

You must have an active internet connection

If you don't like hanging out online (I do, but lots of my grandma friends don't), you'll have no choice with a Chromebook. Each time you turn it on, it searches for an internet connection. You can't complete the set-up process without one. When it finds active signals, it will prompt you to choose your network and select a sign-on icon to personalize your computing environment.

Next you will input a Google ID (Gmail, G+, Youtube, Chrome) and password. If you don't have a Google ID to complete the sign-up process, you'll have to use your computer as a guest until you get one.

The keyboard is labeled with lower case letters.

The keyboard is labeled with lower case letters.

You'll like the keyboard

The keyboard is compact and solid. Instead of those annoying "F" function keys, the back row has icons. There's no caps lock key either. (No more annoying all caps emails without a little extra effort.)

They call it Chromebook because....

If you'd prefer to use Firefox, IE, or any other browser, you simply can't. Every task runs in a Chrome Browser tab.

Working With Google Apps

Google Chromebook on

Apps Instead of Programs

Every computer I've ever had ran programs installed on a hard drive. You'll perform most Chromebook tasks with apps in a browser.

Scroll to Continue

It has a number of pre-installed apps. To access them, you simply click the "Apps" icon at the bottom left of the screen. To find new apps, you click the Chrome Web Store link at the bottom right of any "New Tab" in the Chrome browser.

Your Own Piece of the Cloud

It's okay to admit that you've never understood the whole "Cloud" thing. The Chromebook will give you first hand experience. When you create a document in the Google Docs app, for instance, it's automatically saves to Google Drive online storage.

Chromebook comes with 100 free gigabytes of Google Drive Space. You can store your documents, photos and downloaded files. You can access them from any internet accessible device you own, including your old laptop. You can allow others access to your drive as well.

Connect With Old School Devices

If you don't like new-fangled concepts like "the Cloud," Chromebooks have a USB port, a charging USB port, and an HDMI port for TVs and monitors. There's also an SD slot and an earphone jack. You can save your files to your usual storage spaces.

Side view with SD slot and earphone jack.

Side view with SD slot and earphone jack.

Take it Anywhere

Google Chromebooks are 11.4 inches long by 8.9 inches wide. They weigh 2.4 pounds and are .7 inches thick. A charged battery lasts 6.5 hours or more. It's small, thin, lightweight and portable enough to carry in a backpack, a briefcase or a purse.

Do a Few Tasks Offline

You'll perform most of your Chromebookt asks online, but you can do a few offline activities. You have the option of editing Gmail, Google Docs and a few other files offline if you choose.

You can keep a copy offline, work on it; and when you 're online, any changes will sync with the copy stored in Google Drive.

You'll like it

Nearly everything about the Google Chromebook is modern and new. If you buy one, you'll probably like it. It's possible your grandma might like it too.

Tell me what you think

Marie Alana from Ohio on March 22, 2013:

This is interesting! I am thinking about shopping for a laptop computer that is just for me. Thanks for the information!

Dee aka Nonna on December 07, 2012:

Thank you. I have been wondering but had not taken the time to research. You have done that for me and I so much appreciate it. I just put it on my list of a must have.

Great job with this hub.

Cynthia Lyerly from Georgia on December 06, 2012:

I like "grandmas" who are into technology")

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