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Chromebook

Tip: Run Gmail Offline on ChromeOS

Chromebooks are intended to be used with an Internet connection – at least that’s how it all started. As time has progressed, though, and as ChromeOS has started becoming a more viable alternative to Windows, there are more and more apps and options for using a Chromebook offline. Did you know that Gmail also offers the ability to be used offline? When you turn on offline use for the Gmail website, you can still access your inbox without a connection. To do it… Open the Gmail website. Go to Settings – Offline and enable offline email. There’s a couple of choices you need to make like how long to store emails, if attachments should be downloaded, and what to do with offline data files, but you’ll be able to use Gmail without an Internet connection. This i...

Tip: Tricking Skype for the Web to Allow ChromeOS to Work

Recently, Microsoft “enhanced” its Skype for the Web components. In doing so, the company left out Chromebook users from being able to utilize the web-based app. The Skype app for Android still works on ChromeOS, so users can use that if they need to connect to meetings. However, there’s also another way to accomplish this, proving that there’s literally no good reason why Microsoft is blocking ChromeOS users. Download and install the User-Agent Switcher Chrome extension. After the extension is installed, go to the Skype for the Web website, right-click and tell Chrome to run as Microsoft Edge on Windows. The page will refresh and allow you to use Skype in the web browser.  

Tip: Opening the ChromeOS Task Manager

Those coming from a Windows environment to ChromeOS might wonder if Google’s operating system has a Task Manager-type application for reviewing running processes. Yes, it does. There are a few different ways to access Task Manager for ChromeOS. Using key combinations: Shift-Esc Search-Esc Using OS components: With the Chrome browser open, right-click on the title bar… With the Chrome browser open, go to More Tools in the browser’s extra menu…

Tip: Changing the Default Sharing Method for ChromeOS with Android Apps

Those that install and use Android apps on ChromeOS may find that they no longer want the Android app handling requests. For example, if you want to share a web page or document using the web browser but at one point you told ChromeOS you’d rather use the Twitter Android app (as shown in the next image), locating how to change this back can be difficult. For this tip, we’ll continue using Twitter as the example. To change the default back to the browser, you have to alter the setting for the Twitter Android app. However, this setting does not exist in the Twitter app itself. It’s a global setting and can be found by going through the ChromeOS settings. To change it (again, using Twitter as the example – but this applies to any Android app), you locate it by… [...

OneDrive Type Syncing Capability Coming to Google Drive on ChromeOS

OneDrive’s ability to automatically sync files and folders between Windows 10 devices and the cloud has long been a valuable feature. It keeps placeholders locally, instead of entire files, to save local storage space. Many Chromebook users have expected similar capabilities for Google’s own cloud storage service, Google Drive. And, now that will happen. Starting with ChromeOS 73.0.3683.32 (currently in the beta channel) this capability is available. The Stable Channel for ChromeOS is at 72.x, which means the Google Drive syncing capability is about another month away from being publicly available. Of course, those that want to test this now can switch to the Developer channel, but that’s not recommended for everyone. The Developer channel is less secure and generally uns...

Microsoft Delivers Windows 10 Timeline Support to Chrome with Web Activities Extension

Microsoft has now released an official Chrome web browser extension that delivers its Windows 10 Timeline support to non-Microsoft devices. Called Web Activities, the extension works with an existing Microsoft account to sync activities across devices. With this extension, your browsing history will appear across all your devices in surfaces such as in Windows timeline and Microsoft Launcher for Android. Just sign in with your Microsoft account, select a site you’ve recently visited, and pick up where you left off. Get it here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/web-activities/eiipeonhflhoiacfbniealbdjoeoglid/ Incidentally, this also works for Chromebooks running ChromeOS.

Tip: Viewing and Customizing the Data Google Assistant Collects

All voice assistants and smart speakers capture user data to ensure that the service is tailored to a more personal experience. But, they all also provide logs and customization settings so you can view what’s been captured and then modify the type and amount of information that’s collected. Google does this with its Google Assistant. And, now that the company has rolled out Google Assistant to all supported Chromebooks, it’s more important than ever to get a handle on the information that’s being collected. See: Tip: Enabling Google Assistant for ChromeOS 72 and Later For ChromeOS/Chromebook users, these links can also be found in the Google Assistant settings, which can be accessed by going to  Search and Assistant area in ChromeOS Settings, and then into the Goog...

Tip: Customizing Google Assistant on ChromeOS

As we’ve already noted, Google has now made ChromeOS 72 available which offers the ability to turn on Google Assistant for all supported Chromebooks. See: Tip: Enabling Google Assistant for ChromeOS 72 and Later After enabling Google Assistant, you can also customize how the assistant interacts with you and how much (or how little) it knows about you. To locate the customization settings, find the Search and Assistant area in ChromeOS Settings. Then, drop into the Google Assistant area and tap or click the Google Assistant settings option… This area allows you to access specific customizations for Google Assistant such as things it knows about you, things specific to the assistant, and then other Services available to integrate with Google Assistant.

Tip: Enabling Google Assistant for ChromeOS 72 and Later

Google has recently begun the rollout of ChromeOS 72 to supported Chromebooks. In this update is the ability to (finally) enable the Google Assistant. To enable this, you have to toggle a few flags and then modify the ChromeOS Settings. To do it… First, run chrome://flags in the browser, and then search for ‘Assistant.’ There are two flags to enable: Enable Google Assistant Enable Assistant Voice Match Do not turn on the Enable Google Assistant with hardware-based hotword option. This only works with very specific devices. NOTE: After enabling each of the three flags, the system will need to restart. Finally, go into ChromeOS Settings, locate the Search and Assistant section to turn on Google Assistant… Here you can also customize the feature:    

Tip: Changing the Default App Association for Files in ChromeOS

Changing which app opens which file type in ChromeOS isn’t easy to find and there are caveats. For most file types, the default is good enough, but for others, you may want to change the app that opens the file type because you like something better. For example, the default app for opening PDF files doesn’t currently support markups, signatures, or bookmarks. We recently recommended XODO for these additional features, but you still have to run XODO first and then open the file you want to edit from within the app. Opening a PDF in the file system will still open the file in the system’s default app. But, you can change that. First off, you can’t change the default app to a web app. It has to be an app installed to run locally. So, in the case for XODO, you have to ...

Tip: Reset the Chromebook Hardware

It’s rare, but it can happen. Sometimes the Chromebook hardware can lock into an unknown state that essentially looks like it has stopped booting or appears to be out of battery. In this case, when you can’t get to the options for restarting or resetting the OS, you can perform a hardware reset. For most Chromebooks you perform a hardware reset by pressing the Refresh and Power buttons simultaneously.  +  Some Chromebooks have an actual power button included in the keyboard layout, but for those without, you’ll need to use the hardware power button on the Chromebook’s side with the Refresh key. Additionally, for some Chromebooks, resetting the hardware requires pressing a special reset button, unplugging the power cable, or removing and re-inserting the battery. Sea...

Tip: Best PDF Reader and Annotator for ChromeOS

It’s pretty regular that the question arises for new (and old) ChromeOS users about which is the best PDF Reader with editing and annotating features available. It’s easy to get lost down the rabbit hole of researching, testing, and figuring because there are a growing number of options for ChromeOS users. However, one solution that continues to fill the feature list is the offering from XODO. XODO PDF Reader & Annotator provides pretty much the depth of features generally requested, and its available for multiple platforms as installable apps but also as a web-based tool. Plus, if you create an account, you can store your PDFs in the XODO bookshelf and share with others. Go to: https://www.xodo.com/ XODO is available for the following platforms…

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