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#Pixel30DayChallenge: What is Chrome OS?

April 30, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham


Before you can determine whether or not you can use a Chromebook to replace your current laptop or desktop, you have to know what Chrome OS actually is. In the most simplest terms, Chrome OS is an operating system built in your browser. Since the most of us use Chrome as our browser, it shouldn’t be to hard to figure out how to use a Chromebook or Chromebox.

Desktop

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The desktop on a Chrome OS device looks pretty familiar. You’ve got your desktop and then your taskbar at the bottom. Then there is a gray square with 9 (3×3) gray squares inside it that is basically the “Start” button on Chrome devices. That shows all your apps. Then on the right side of the taskbar you’ve got your status bar, basically. It shows the time, sound level, network connectivity (either Wi-Fi or LTE), battery levels and your account picture. Clicking over in the right corner gives you shortcuts to different settings including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Sound, power off, lock, and to get to settings.

Security

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You’ve probably heard from numerous Apple ads regarding their Macs that they don’t get viruses. Well that’s changing. But as far as Chromebooks and Chromeboxes go, it’s almost impossible to get a virus on your Chrome OS device. Because most viruses are an executable file (i.e. virus.exe), which are not able to run on Chrome devices. Since everything runs in the browser, by nature the Chromebook is very secure.

Productivity

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Some might argue that Google Docs isn’t the best. Well it is certainly missing some key features that Microsoft Office has. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use a Chromebook. Microsoft does have a web-based version of Microsoft Office, all you have to do is sign up for a Skydrive account. In fact, I use it for all my school work. So I can keep school and work separate, and professors like Microsoft Office better. There are also tons of other apps you can use from the Chrome Web Store.

Cloud

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Yes, the cloud isn’t for everyone and it probably never will be, as long as there isn’t Wi-Fi readily accessible everywhere. The Chromebook does basically rely on the Internet. But Google has been introducing offline features for Chrome OS. One of the more recent features is the ability to use Google Docs offline.

Games

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No, you cannot install Steam on a Chromebook. Although you can install Ubuntu on a Chromebook and install it from there. You’re basically limited to web-based games and whatever you can find in the Chrome Web Store.

Fast Boot Time

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Chromebooks boot up very fast. The Chromebook Pixel is said to boot up in about 10 seconds or less. And after using the Chromebook Pixel since last Thursday, I’d have to agree that it does boot up in under 10 seconds. Compared to my Windows 8 desktop, it boots up in record time. Which means it’s almost always accessible for you to use.

Final Thoughts

Chrome OS isn’t for everyone. Which is understandable. That is partially why I’m doing this #Pixel30DayChallenge, so that our readers can ask me whatever questions they want to know about the device, and I’ll be doing weekly check-ins on the site of how its going and if I can make the Pixel or a Chromebook in general my main computer. Personally, I quite like Chrome OS. But there are a few things that make it hard to use it as a main computer, but I’ll have to get over those few things over these 30 days.

How many of you have used Chrome OS before?