Android Nougat on more Chromebooks

Android Nougat is hitting several more Chromebooks

Android apps have yet to roll out to the majority of the Chrome OS ecosystem, but as they do, Google is perfecting the formula and making the functionality feel much more native. One of the biggest upgrades to this function to date has been Android Nougat, and now that rollout is extending to several more Chromebooks.

Android Nougat on Chrome OS not only gives apps running on your device access to a bunch more APIs and features, but offers up resizable windows. That’s a big deal when you’re using the machine in laptop mode as it means you can change the size of the app depending on your needs.

Android Nougat on more Chromebooks

Chromebook improved printing

Chromebook is about to get some improved printing options

Printing from has always been a somewhat convoluted affair, with printers needing to get hooked up to Google Cloud Print in the cloud before becoming available or wherever else you’ve got Chrome installed.

Now Google is adding the option to print from Chrome OS to a locally networked printer for the first time, boosting the offline capabilities of Chromebooks along the way. The feature is built into version 59 of the operating system, which just hit the stable channel.

Chromebook improved printing

How to master Google Photos

How to master Google Photos

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard how good Google Photos is. Your friends, family, and coworkers are probably using it and singing the app’s praises. It makes backing up your photo library effortless. It can identify people — even babies — in your images with freakish accuracy. It automatically creates GIFs and movies that the people in your life will cherish. Hooray.

But there’s really no great manual or user guide for Google Photos. Google’s FAQ site is about as close as the company comes to a “getting started” handbook. So I’ve compiled some how-tos and tips here and plan to update this article to keep up with any big changes that Google makes to the app.

How to master Google Photos

chromebook with logo on screen

Review of Acer R11 Chromebook

It is just 7 weeks since I purchased my first Chromebook, the Acer R11. I was a novice of what to look for and did some preliminary research before buying my Acer R11. I wanted to touch and feel before buying so I went to my nearby Best Buy store. They had 3 models on display and in stock. After looking over the 3, the Acer R11 was on sale and seemed to have the specs that I wanted. It only has 16GB of storage, but I thought that should be enough. The biggest plus for the unit was the price. It lists for $299, The website had it priced at $259 and it was on sale for $239. It has a touchscreen, which was on my required list. It also is a 2 in 1 as the screen folds all the way back to be a tablet. It has 2 USB ports, an HDMI port, an SD slot to add more storage, and a single audio input. This model also offers 100GB of free Google Drive storage for 2 years.

When I got it home, I plugged it in to charge it and it can also be used while charging. When I turned it on it asked me to select 3 items, language, keyboard, & network. Since it relies on the cloud, you need to connect to a wi-fi signal, so it gives you a list of those networks available. I chose my home wi-fi. It then asked me to accept the Google OS terms and when I did, it checked and installed some upgrades, which included the OS version which has the beta of Google Play. That beta gives me the ability to download & use Android Apps, which is new to Chromebooks.

There are only 3 Chromebook models that are ready to use Android Apps, but more on that in later blogs. I did not realize at the time that I also could still use the Google Web Store and install any of its apps as well.

Once the upgrade was completed, a matter of minutes, it asked for me to sign in. I was in a dilemma. I wasn’t sure if I should use my main Gmail account or create a new one for this Chromebook. I first logged on in an included Guest Account to look around. I then logged out and decided to use a new Gmail account, which I set up from the sign in screen. I was still unsure of which account to use, especially to get the free 100GB Google Drive space. I skipped signing up for the extra space and thought that I could do so later.

After looking around for a while, I decided to use use the new account and to log into the Google Drive from my main account when I needed it. I started to add Android Apps of programs that I use regularly on all my devices, such as Evernote, Feedly, TuneIn, Netflix, Alexa & Dropbox. It was then I tried to activate my free 100GB of storage, and it did not work. I called Acer who referred me to Google Tech Support. The tech said that I needed to go to settings and run “Powerwash” to take me back to a Factory Fresh state. “Oh, NO!” I had just installed a bunch of Apps. The tech reassured me that it was not a problem on the Chromebook. She walked me through it. And when it came up with the screen to fill in the Language, Keyboard, & Network, I knew I was screwed. I signed in and it asked if I wanted to activate the 100GB and where. I filled in my main account and it said it completed. I looked at my installed programs and ALL of them were there. I tested a few & they worked. The tech had me check and I now had 115GB of cloud storage. Since everything is stored in the cloud, everything was restored! I loved it. No backup is needed. The OS is its own backup.

I am continuing to use the Chromebook and for the most part, I am quite happy with it. Keep watching for more of my blogs about Chromebooks in general and my experiences in particular. There is also a new website coming for choosing and using Chromebooks, especially for senior citizens.

Buying Guide for Chromebooks

Should I Buy a Chromebook? Buying Guide and Advice

A Chromebook is a laptop of a different breed. Instead of Windows 10 or macOS, Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud. These machines have done quite well in the education market, but their appeal has broadened.

Low prices, long battery life and ease of use are just a few reasons why Chromebooks are attractive. Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time in 2016, and Gartner is predicting that Chromebook sales will grow by 16.3 percent in 2017.

But is a Chromebook right for you? Our Chromebook buying guide has the answers to these and other questions.

Buying Guide for Chromebooks