Another Reason Why a Genealogist Might Want to Buy a Chromebook

Acer_ChromebookI have written a number of times (see https://goo.gl/TsSWQ5 to find my earlier articles) about Chromebooks, the low-cost laptop computers that boot up quickly, are simple to use, never get viruses, and perform the computer tasks that many computer owners want.

Chromebooks also have a long-life battery life. A Chromebook does not slow down over time and there are no long boot times — just flip it open and get busy doing anything other than waiting.

Because Chromebooks safely and securely store almost all data in the cloud, nothing is lost if you break or lose a Chromebook. It’s all in the cloud, no matter what. As a result, a thief can steal your Chromebook but will not gain access to any of your personal information or documents. And because the technical requirements for running Chrome apps are so low, you still get reasonable performance, even from a sub-$200 laptop.

One of the weaknesses of Chromebooks has been the lack of good genealogy apps. That is now changing.

To be sure, Chromebooks are low-powered computers. At these price levels, you cannot expect high-powered workstations. If you are an artist, designer, scientist, engineer, or a video-game player, you probably will find that the Chromebook is insufficient for your needs. Most everyone else will find that a Chromebook works well for them.

Chromebooks are already outselling Macintosh laptops according to analyst firm IDC (see http://goo.gl/Q9PHnD for details).

AsusChromebook10_SilverAlthough low-priced and easy to use, these laptop computers are already likely far more capable than you think, but their utility is about to increase exponentially. Beginning this fall, Google’s Chrome platform will add support for Android apps, instantly giving Chromebook users access to millions of new applications found in the Google Play store. Once Android apps are added to the thousands of Chrome apps already available, the Chromebooks will become more attractive than ever.

Once Android apps become available later this year on a Chromebook, dozens of genealogy apps from MyHeritage, FamilySearch, RootsMagic, Heredis, GedStar Pro, Find-A-Grave, Ancestry.com, and many other vendors should work well on a Chromebook. We won’t know if ALL of these apps will work on a Chromebook until after the capability is added. However, Google’s recent announcement does state that MOST Android apps will work properly on the future release of the Chrome operating system.

Apparently the earlier, lower-powered Chromebooks will not have enough processing power to handle Android apps. A list of every single Chromebook that will support Android apps this fall may be found at http://bgr.com/2016/05/27/chromebook-android-app-support-model-list/.

I found my very old Samsung Chromebook will not be able to run Android apps but my newer Asus Flip Chromebook should work well. If you already own a Chromebook, you might want to check the list at http://bgr.com/2016/05/27/chromebook-android-app-support-model-list/ to see if your device can support Android apps.

13 Comments

I have an Acer Chromebook and cannot find the model number anywhere. Any idea how to find out?

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With all of the new apps and speed, will the price increase considerably?

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Will Chromebook run Windows software such as Family Tree Maker (not the Ancestry app), MS Office, Photoshop Elements?

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    —> Will Chromebook run Windows software

    No. Chromebooks today run programs written for the Chrome operating system. As mentioned in the above article, in the near future most Chromebooks will also run programs written for the Android operating system. Chromebooks do not run programs written for Windows or Macintosh or Linux or UNIX or other operating systems.

    There are very few genealogy programs written for Chrome but many genealogy programs (or “apps”) are available today for Android. You can find a list of all the genealogy apps for Android at https://goo.gl/EHvKPw

    You will notice there are apps from FamilySearch, MyHeritage, Ancestry.com, RootsMagic, BillionGraves, Find A Grave, and others.

    Liked by 1 person

I love chromebooks. I bought a small one for my husband (a/k/a the King of the Virus) to see if he would like it and he did. So I bought him one with a bigger screen. He can do everything on it that he loves to do, but without the virus problem. It is the best thing going for those people who don’t or won’t keep up with their virus software.

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Aside from wanting to be able to use software programs, and being able to do that by using an Android app on Chromebook, can’t one just use Ancestry and FamilySearch online on a Chromebook?

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    —> can’t one just use Ancestry and FamilySearch online on a Chromebook?

    You can and that works well. You can also use MyHeritage, FindMyPast, The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (called TNG), and some other genealogy web sites that you can control even better than FamilySearch.org or Ancestry.com. In short, you have multiple options to choose from.

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Dick, I purchased an ASUS Flip on your recommendation – great little computer BUT,
the model nbr C100P is not on the list of computers that will run the new Android genealogy apps.

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    WRONG! The Asus Flip C100P is the ONLY Chromebook that can run Android apps TODAY.

    I have the Android apps running on my Asus Flip C100P and expect to write about it soon. However, I am first going to load a bunch of Android apps on the Asus Flip and use them for a bit.

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