Verity Burns
Thu, 21 Jul 2011 16:30:00 GMT | By Verity Burns, editor, MSN Tech & Gadgets
Need to know - Google Chromebook

Runs Google's Chrome OS



Google Chromebook (© Verity Burns; MSN)
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Instead of having a Windows or Mac operating system, Chromebooks run Google's new Chrome OS - a lightweight, open source operating system that is mainly run through Google's Chrome browser.

Need to know - Google ChromebookGet clued up on all you need to know about Google's hard drive-free laptop.Get clued up on all you need to know about Google's hard drive-free laptop.Verity Burnseditor, MSN Tech & GadgetsVerity Burns2011-07-21T15:30:00In pictures: Google's Chromebook Google's first Chromebook is now available in shops, but should you go for it instead of a standard laptop - and what's even the difference?We got some hands on time with it earlier this week to see what all the fuss is about. Can a laptop without a hard drive really hold its own in the market?Read on to find out all you need to know about the Google Chromebook.true156425374Motorola Xoom(©Motorola)Need to know - Motorola Xoom158197259It has a brand-new controller(©Nintendo)Need to know - Nintendo Wii U156068301Motorola Atrix: laptop dock(©Motorola)Need to know: Motorola AtrixAn introductionMade by Samsung, this Chromebook is the first of what Google plans to become a line of Chromebooks - all built around and optimised for the web. It features a 12.1-inch screen, Intel Atom processor, 2GB RAM, a webcam, stereo speakers and a full-sized keyboard, and has a price tag of €500.A Chromebook from Acer is next in line to come to market, with talks with other manufacturers already in progress.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Runs Google's Chrome OSInstead of having a Windows or Mac operating system, Chromebooks run Google's new Chrome OS - a lightweight, open source operating system that is mainly run through Google's Chrome browser.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)No desktopThe first difference you'll notice between the Chromebook and your regular laptop is that there is no traditional desktop. When you log on (using your Gmail account), you are immediately taken to your 'homescreen' in a browser. From here you have direct access to your Google Mail account, Google Docs, Google Calendar and quick links to YouTube and the Chrome Web Store.  topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)No hard drive - everything is stored in the cloudThat's all there is to it. Everything you do on your Chromebook is done through the browser and via web apps, downloadable from the Chrome Web Store. And because there's no hard drive, everything you do is stored securely online in the cloud - not actually on the computer. This means that whatever you do on your Chromebook, and whatever apps you get from the Web Store, it can all be accessed by you no matter which Chromebook you log on to. Of course no hard drive does mean you won't be able to install and use the software you might be used to using - or at least you'll be forced to use the less sophisticated web versions of it. Certainly something to bear in mind if you need to do lots of video or photo editing, for example.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Dedicated search keyBut to browse the web, the Chromebook is perfect - ultimately it's what it's made for. There's even a dedicated search key that you can press at any time to do a web search using Google.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Multitouch touchpadThis Samsung Chromebook features an oversized, clickable multitouch touchpad, which you get a tutorial in using at the beginning. It features gestures such as two finger scrolling, with more to be added in future Chrome OS updates.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Quick boot, long battery lifeThe fact there's no hard drive filled with chunky programs to slow it down means the Chromebook boots within 8 seconds of pressing the on button, so you can get online quickly. Google says its Chromebooks should even get faster over time as they automatically download system and app updates as they go - no manual updates needed. Its lack of hard drive also makes it thin and light making it a great on-the-go companion - it'll last for up to 8.5 hours on a full charge.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Open source Web StoreAs Chrome OS is open source, developers are able to design and submit apps, games, browser extensions and themes to the Chrome Web Store for you to use to customise your Chromebook. From popular programs such as Spotify and photo-editing tool Picnik to games and word processing tools, the Chrome Web Store has a growing number of free and paid-for apps - even Angry Birds has made it to Chrome!topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)ConnectivityJust because there's no desktop, it doesn't mean you're unable to use the Chromebook to get your content online. This one features two USB ports and an 4-in-1 memory card reader, meaning you can transfer things such as photos and videos directly from your camera to sites such as Flickr and Facebook.topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(©Verity Burns; MSN)Getting onlineAs it is built around the web, the most important thing when using a Chromebook is being able to get online. Each one is equipped with built-in wi-fi so you can get online at home and via any wi-fi hotspot, but you can also pick up Chromebooks with built-in 3G connectivity as well.  topThis field has been disabled for Gallery V2Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(©Google)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)Google Chromebook(Verity Burns; MSN)

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