Chromebooks are Built to Run Anything and Everything on the Web

I have written often about Chromebooks. (See https://goo.gl/AAaOZr for a list of my past articles about Chromebooks.) One of the most common questions asked by readers after those articles is, “Will a Chromebook run my favorite genealogy program?” In most cases, the answer is “No.”

Chromebooks will run a lot of programs when offline (see http://goo.gl/8pr4dd for Everything You Can Do Offline With a Chromebook by David Nield). However, all Chromebooks are really intended for use when connected to the Internet. A Chromebook will run applications hosted on web sites, including MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, Werelate.org, WikiTree.com, The Next Generation of Genealogy Site Building, WebTrees, as well as non-genealogy apps such as FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google Docs, Zoho Writer, thousands of online games, and most email services.

Jerry Hildenbrand has published Should You Buy a Chromebook at http://www.androidcentral.com/should-you-buy-chromebook. He writes:

“Whenever we talk about Chromebooks, this is one of the questions that always pops up. It’s understandable — you’ve got about half the internet telling you that Chromebooks are great and most folks can do everything they want to do on a laptop with Chrome, and most of the other half claiming that they are useless and you shouldn’t spend your money on ‘just a browser.’

“As usual, I think the real wisdom comes from the people in the middle. Folks who will come forward and say a Chromebook is their only computer or the one they use all or most of the time, and why it works for them. I may be biased because I’m one of those people, but I really do think that for a good many of us, a Chromebook is the best computer you can buy.”

If you are thinking of purchasing a Chromebook for yourself or for a family member, you might want to read Jerry Hildenbrand’s article at http://www.androidcentral.com/should-you-buy-chromebook.

Chromebook_1

By the way, I love my Chromebook and take it with me on all my trips. I also use it frequently when sitting on the couch and watching television.

Since I recently moved my genealogy database to an online service (MyHeritage.com), I also do most of my genealogy database additions and updates with the Chromebook when traveling. Admittedly, I do like the big 27-inch screen on the iMac so I still use that to update the genealogy data on MyHeritage.com most of the time when I am at home. However, I use the Chromebook to do the same thing when in libraries, archives, or in hotel rooms. I love the idea of having my genealogy information available with me wherever I go and from any computer that happens to be available, including from the cell phone, the tablet computer, a Windows or Macintosh laptop, or from a Chromebook.

I also use the Chromebook to write many of the articles in this newsletter, especially when traveling, using either Zoho Writer or Google Docs.

8 Comments

simoneaugenealogie July 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Is there developpers for genealogy programs such as Legacy Family Tree, Rootsmagic, etc for Chromebook and Android ?

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    No.

    RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, and all other programs designed for Windows or Macintosh computers are not easily converted to web-based applications to be used by Chromebooks or by any other online devices. Rather than trying to convert existing Windows or Macintosh programs, it undoubtedly is better, cheaper, and more efficient to start with a clean sheet of paper and design something brand new for Chromebooks and other online devices. Luckily, that has already been done.

    The two best-known examples of web-based genealogy programs for individual use are The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding© (usually abbreviated to “TNG”) at http://www.tngsitebuilding.com/ and WebTrees at https://www.webtrees.net/index.php/en/

    Of course, Chromebooks also work well with almost all the online genealogy services that feature thousands of genealogists collaborating together: MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, WeRelate.org, WikiTree.com, Findmypast.com, and a number of others.

    Like

Can you use MS 365 apps on a Chrome? I run MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint on my windows desktop but I would like to be able to access and revise some of my docs when away from home. Before investing in MS 365 I need to know if I can do this on a Chromebook?

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I recently bought a Chromebook and it’s a complete failure. You can’t log in unless Google texts you a code. But if you have no cell phone service where you are, your Chromebook is useless. And a lot of people still don’t text at all. You should mention that when writing about Chromebooks.

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    —> You can’t log in unless Google texts you a code.

    Something is wrong. Google should NEVER need to send you a code on a Chromebook unless you have forgotten your Google password.

    —> But if you have no cell phone service where you are, your Chromebook is useless.

    A Chromebook doesn’t use cellular service so I cannot imagine why that would ever make any difference. A Chromebook normally uses wi-fi service, not cellular. Even so, there are dozens of Chromebook applications that work when there is no Internet connection at all. See https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/collection/offline_enabled for a list of many of the offline Chromebook applications.

    I travel a lot and always take the Chromebook with me. I frequently use my Chromebook when on an airplane where there is no cellular connection available. It works well with the airplanes’ wi-fi connections and quite often there is no wi-fi at all. In that case, I do have a number of Chromebook applications that work without any Internet connection at all.

    —> And a lot of people still don’t text at all.

    That includes me. I rarely use text messages and I never, ever use a Chromebook for text messaging. When I do need to send a text message, I do that on my cell phone.

    Like

    I’m sorry to say that Google indeed requires you to get a code via text on your cell phone even tho I had tried to log in with my account information–name and password. I can use it at home where I don’t need it as I use a desktop but it won’t work anywhere else without a texted code. It’s evidently a 2-step verification process and renders the Chromebook unusable without cell phone service–and knowing how to text.
    I tried to find a way to contact Google to ask about this but can’t find any contact info for them. I did get several no-reply-possible security alert emails from Google saying ‘Someone has your password’–that someone was me trying to use the Chromebook.

    Like

    —> I’m sorry to say that Google indeed requires you to get a code via text on your cell phone even tho I had tried to log in with my account information–name and password.

    Strange… I have been using Chromebooks for about 3 years and have never encountered that. I am now on my second Chromebook. I have used them from dozens of different locations; at home, from several different offices, perhaps 2 or 3 dozen different hotel rooms, on board several different airliners (where there is no cellular service available), from two different cruise ships (where I leave my cell phone turned off because service is so expensive), and from several foreign countries (including Mexico, the Bahamas, and most recently in England) where I do not always have cell phone service.

    I expect to use the Chromebook next week in New Zealand and the following week in Singapore. I don’t expect any problems and doubt if I will need anything from Google. If I do encounter any problems on that trip, I will report them here.

    Has anyone else reading this message experienced a similar problem?

    Like

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