In our previous article “Is a Chromebook for You?” we reviewed what a Chromebook is and debated whether a Chromebook is a tool or a toy. I presume most of you may still believe Chromebooks are toys. But some of you I know have made a decision and decided to take the plunge. You have now joined the estimated 5M+ people who have purchased a Chromebook! Congratulations!
But how do you survive the transition from a Windows operating world?
Chromebook setup is a breeze. It’s best to begin your setup while you are within a WiFi accessible area. Turn on your Chromebook and follow the onscreen instructions. Connect to your WiFi network and login using your Google Account username and password.
Once signed into your Google account, which works best if you have a Google Apps or Gmail email account, you have immediate access to Mail, Calendar, Drive, Sheets, Docs, Slides, Chrome browser favorites, Hangout conversations and YouTube channel subscriptions. That’s quite a lot of things setup right off the bat.
The first thing I suggest setting up is your printer. If you have a Google Cloud Ready printer, the setup is as easy as it gets. Google has even listed the Cloud Ready printers with instructions for each. If you don’t have a Cloud Ready printer, rest assured, you can still use your printer. You will first have to register the printer with Google Cloud Print using a Windows, Mac or Linux computer.
Now the basics are done. Time to tackle the offline experience. Chromebooks are known to thrive on the web and survive offline. The gap between what a Chromebook can and can’t do is closing quickly but that is primarily in conjunction with internet access. First step is to download Google’s Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store which allows you to compose new emails and reply to existing emails. The emails are stored and sent out after you are back to the connected world.
Google Calendar is a read-only app while offline so you can’t create or edit events but it’s easy to setup. Open Google Calendar in your browser, click on the gear icon and select the “Offline” option, then click “Enable” in the pop-up that appears.
Google Drive is another good offline app to setup. Open up Google Drive, click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select “Settings.” Open the “General” tab and check the box next to “Sync your work to this computer so that you edit offline.”
Apps can be fun and easy to install. Set aside some time and go through some apps in the Chrome Web Store and if you are looking for offline specific apps, they make a section for just that!
Hopefully this will help jumpstart your Chromebook setup and remember… even if you have decided a Chromebook is a tool, you can still have fun with your new toy!