Since the debut of the Chromebook a few years ago, I’ve always been keen in the idea of moving all my work to the cloud. Think about it, what if your entire life is all stored online and can be accessed anywhere, anytime you want it. I didn’t switch to a Chromebook immediately when it was launched because while I was sold by the idea, there wasn’t enough apps and services for the Chromebook to replace my Windows laptop.
Though I didn’t get a Chromebook, I was starting to move my life to the cloud with cloud storage services like SugarSync. It was awesome. There were so many instances where I needed to share large files with friends or access documents that weren’t stored in my laptop and cloud storage fulfilled every single task with ease.
I only saw the full benefit of having everything stored in the cloud when my laptop broke down and I had to wipe out all the data in the laptop with a fresh Windows installation. This happened last month. It’s safe to say that I had not lost any data at all. Once I have installed Windows, the biggest pain was having to re-install all the applications that I had in my laptop previously which took me hours to do. I even had to find an external CD drive (my laptop did not have a CD drive) to install all the applications.
After restoring my laptop to its original state, I decided that it was time to revisit the idea of migrating to a Chromebook. I did a thorough research about the Chromebook online, reading every single review made about the Chromebook and visiting the Chrome Store to make sure that there are apps to replace every software I had on my laptop.
A week after the episode with my laptop, I bought the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook. The Chromebook only costs 449 SGD (even cheaper if I were to buy it through Amazon, but I wanted the local warranty). The Chromebook came with free 100 GB Google Drive storage for 2 years which was sweet! Using the Chromebook for the first time was easy. I connected the Chromebook to my router for Internet access and signed in to my Google Account. Within minutes, the Chromebook was synced to my Google Account and I had full access to my files on SugarSync.
Though the Chromebook seems under-powered in terms of specs, it is quite fast.
I activated the free 100GB Google Drive storage for my Google Drive account which only took a few minutes. I love the free storage because I was paying 49.99 USD a year for my SugarSync account and now I can move all my data from SugarSync and stop paying the annual fees. I spent another hour browsing the Chrome Store to install the apps and extensions that I needed. Installation was a breeze because all the apps were Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and installations only required only a click on the mouse.
I must clarify that the Chromebook is not for everyone. I don’t play computer games, do software development work, or do intensive graphic design or video production. By profession, my digital marketing work revolves around the Internet and a text editor.
I used to use Evernote for note-taking. Now, I switched to Google Keep because I can use it offline and it syncs to my Google Drive account once I connect to the Internet. In fact, this post is written entirely on Google Keep before copied into my blog.
Earlier in this post, I mentioned that the Chromebook is not perfect. It’s true because I have not found a good photo editing replacement for Adobe Photoshop. Pixlr Editor comes really close to offering a Photoshop-like experience but I prefer an app that works offline and does not operate out of a browser.
Google Drive now stores my life in the cloud. I am no longer using SugarSync. The free 100 GB storage for 2 years is adequate in my opinion because that’s probably the lifecycle of my Chromebook. I can choose to either upgrade to a new Chromebook or pay for the 100 GB storage when the time comes.
Gmail Offline is a third-party solution to view emails offline. I have many Google Apps email accounts and all of them are synced to Gmail Offline so that I can access my emails even without Internet access.
I’m a big e-book lover and all my books are stored in my Amazon Kindle account. I usually read my books with my Kindle but it is cool to know that I can also use the cloud Reader to access my books.
This is one app that I really love! I do a lot of online research for my work and I save them in Pocket so that I can access them later. The Pocket Chrome App synchronize everything I saved and allows me to read them offline.
JSTorrent is a chrome packaged app for downloading torrents. Bet you didn’t think you can do that on a Chromebook right?
It’s too early to tell, but I like the light weight and speed of the laptop. I’m still getting used to doing everything out of Chrome. I’ll post an update after a few months and let’s see if the relationship lasts.
Christopher How is a digital marketing specialist helping organisations complement their business strategies with digital marketing techniques since 2006. Currently working in Philips Lighting as Senior Digital Marketing Manager (ASEAN Pacific), Christopher manages the end to end digital marketing from generating leads to converting them into contacts for the sales team. He is also involved in proposing and implementing digital marketing solutions that improve marketing efforts and processes for businesses.