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A Chromebook is a type of laptop or tablet that runs on the Chrome operating system. They can be differentiated from other computers in that most applications and data reside in the cloud rather than on the machine itself.

Developed by Google, Chrome OS is designed around the Google Chrome web browser and designed to work almost entirely online, with limited functions in the absence of an Internet connection.

Chromebooks are fine for browsing the web, checking your email, accessing social media, sharing photographs and video, chatting with friends, and streaming music, television, and movies. However, they are not so good for editing video, making music, manipulating photographs, creating images, or anything that requires a great deal of data storage and processing speed, such as many of the larger video games.

Although Chromebooks look very much like traditional Windows or Mac-based laptops, but they tend to smaller, lighter, and they generally have less built-in storage space and no DVD or CD drives. Keep in mind, also, that they are designed to be used with an Internet connection.

Although many modern software programs are also cloud-based, traditional programs are designed to be installed onto the hard drive of a laptop or notebook computer. Applications designed for the Chromebook run in Google Chrome. Users can write and edit documents in Google Docs, analyze numbers with Google Sheets spreadsheet application, and create presentations with Google Slides, all of which are similar to the applications in Microsoft Office. Of course, there are third-party applications available for Chromebooks, as well.

Chromebooks are cloud devices, which means that all of the user's files, photographs, and work are stored in the cloud. Cloud computing allows on-demand access to a large selection of applications, storage, email, social media, and other services that are not stored on the device. In most Chromebook configurations, almost nothing is stored on the device. On the positive side, if the worst happened, and your Chromebook was lost or destroyed, all your data is still there; all you need is a password and another device.

Most modern printers support Google Cloud Print and can be easily added to your Chromebook. Older printers can probably still be used, although the procedure might be more complicated. The easiest way to use a traditional printer with a Chromebook is to plug it using a USB cable. Bluetooth mice, keyboards, headphones, and other devices can be paired with a Chromebook.

Built around the web browser, Chromebooks are pretty easy to navigate. The desktop looks a lot like those used with other operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and most Linux distributions.

There are two types of applications for the Chromebook: hosted apps and packaged apps. A hosted app is one that runs within the Chrome browser and might be compared to the system utilities that come with any other operating system, while a packaged app is like the third-party programs that someone might buy for macOS or Windows, although a closer comparison would be to those that are cloud-based. Packaged apps can be found on the Chrome Web Store, and are capable of interacting directly with hardware and storage on the Chromebook. Although most of the software that is run on a Chromebook is stored in the cloud, portions of it are stored locally on the device. Over time, a large number of applications and browser extensions can fill up the small amount of storage that is usually available on a Chromebook, and this can result in sluggish or even unresponsive behavior.

In late 2010, Google announced its Chrome OS Pilot Program, which included the first Chromebook, which was known as the Cr Chrome Notebook and produced by Inventec for Google. It was a prototype.

In 2013, the Chromebook Pixel was announced. Featuring a faster CPU than the prototype, it received a great deal of media attention, much of it negative, largely because it was compared to full-fledged laptops like the MacBook and Windows-based laptops. In 2017, the Pixelbook replaced the Chromebook Pixel.

Chromebooks are also produced by companies other than Google, such as Acer, Asus, CTL, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and perhaps some others.

Besides the Chromebook laptop, other devices have also been developed to operate through the Chrome OS. A desktop version, known as a Chromebox, was introduced by Samsung in 2012, and the Chromebase, an all-in-one device, was put on the market by LG Electronics in 2014. Both Acer and Google produce Chromebook tablets, known as the Chromebook Tab. These are appropriate for this category, as well. The focus of this category is on the Chromebook and closely related topics. Retail pages and sites should be listed in the Shopping & eCommerce category, however.



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