Become a Patron of our shows on Patreon! Even PC users begin to “get” Chromebooks, is a Chromebook Pro coming? New features in the Chrome browser, Chromebooks can now use Skype for the Web!
Audio only so far, but it is still useful!
PC World – By: Chris Hoffman – Chromebooks can now participate in audio calls using Microsoft’s Skype for Web. Microsoft didn’t officially announce this new feature, but it’s already working today. This feature now works on Linux, too.
Skype for Web just works
This feature should “just work.” Head to the Skype for Web website, sign in with your Skype account, and click the voice call button for one of your Skype contacts. Chrome will ask if you want to share your microphone with Skype. Agree and the call will happen normally, just like it would via the Skype client application on a desktop PC or phone. It now uses standards-based web technologies instead of the plugin it initially required on Windows.
While audio calls work and work well, video features don’t yet seem to be working on Chrome OS. Skype for Web already offered solid text-messaging support for Chromebook users.
This new feature is a boon to Chromebook users who place Skype calls and Linux users who are sick of Microsoft’s crumbling Skype for Linux application.
Skype’s Android app is still an option
Chromebook users already have another way to run Skype on their Chromebooks. They can install the Skype Android app. Unfortunately, Android app support is currently in beta and will initially be limited to a small number of Chromebooks.
If you really want video calls on Chrome OS and can’t wait, you can still install the Skype Android app via Google’s ARC Welder application. This makes use of Google’s previous Android-on-Chrome technology, and it doesn’t work as well as the new Android app support. However, you can use ARC Welder on any Chromebook today without installing developer builds of Chrome OS.
I usually don’t talk about Chrome Browser specific options, but these look good, and are also, (of course) it will be in the ChromeOS/Chromebook eventually as well.
TNW – By: Nate Swanner – “Google Cast, the underlying technology behind Chromecast, is being baked directly into Chrome, and can be used for Hangouts.
The Chrome browser will have a new ‘Cast’ feature in the drop-down menu in Chrome 51, which is currently in beta.
As you can with the extension, Cast simply lets you cast your browser tab onto a TV or other Cast-enabled monitor. While the extension may no longer be needed, it’ll continue to work — and may be a more streamlined option if you cast often.
Interestingly, Google has also offloaded things like streaming rate and screen resolution to boilerplate functions. Instead of manicuring a good stream, you’ll soon just be streaming while Google Cast does the heavy lifting.
Cast will also be found in Chrome OS.
Google’s chat service is also getting the ability to receive Google Casts.
A beta feature first spotted last May, Cast to Hangouts now seems to be rolling out as a stable release. In the comments section of an Android Police article noting the feature, one user notes it also peeks into your calendar to find scheduled hangouts:
I have this working (though buggy) in Chrome OS v52. My workplace uses Hangouts for our meetings. If I choose the Cast option in the menu it finds meetings in my calendar and lets me share my tab or desktop to the hangout. It’s similar to screensharing in a Hangout but there’s no audio transmitted. One use case is if you’re in a room set up with a Chromebox for Meetings and want to share your screen with everyone, without having to join the Hangout.
The support page for casting to Hangouts also lists ‘cloud services’ as options for casting, though doesn’t list any specifically. As casting seems to be best suited for video chats in Hangouts, it seems Google’s new Duo app could also see screencasts, but we’re betting Google is just laying the groundwork for any service that may use it down the line.”
Are we going to get a Chromebook Pro? And, what does that mean?
VentureBeat – By: Jordan Novet – “Google appears to be looking into the idea of a ‘Chromebook Pro.’ Through its Google Opinion Rewards app for Android, which gives people Google Play Store credits in exchange for anonymous responses to surveys, Google asked some people a few questions about a ‘Chromebook Pro.’
Two people said as much yesterday on Reddit. Reddit user feetextreme posted a screenshot of one of the questions: ‘How would you think a Chromebook Pro is different than a Chromebook?’ Reddit user jellofort wrote that Google ‘asked what a Chromebook Pro should be like in my opinion and what type of people would want to use it.’
The word ‘Pro’ would imply a high-end laptop running Chrome OS, just like, say, the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro 4. But there are many other companies — Asus, Dell, HP, and Samsung, among others — that make Chromebooks, along with Google. It isn’t clear from these survey questions if Google is thinking about making a Chromebook Pro itself, just as it has made high-end Chromebook Pixel laptops, or if Google is just wondering how consumers would perceive a Chromebook Pro made by a third party.
Meanwhile, Google last month published a job posting entitled ‘Quality Engineer, Chromebook Pixel,’ suggesting that a third generation of that device could be on the way.
In any case, a new type of Chromebook with top-of-the-line specifications could be more enticing to consumers in the coming months, now that it’s becoming possible to use Android apps on Chromebooks.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”
Even PC-based folks are beginning to see the point with Chromebooks!
ZDNet – By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes – “Whenever I point out — just like I did here — that Chromebooks are a great bit of kit with massive potential, there are people who are quick to point out their shortcomings compared to fully-featured laptops.
They’re right. If you want a mobile device that can play games or run heavy-duty applications such as Photoshop, then yes, you need a laptop. Same goes for those who like to have a big, monolithic operating system that they can customize and tinker with. Those people need Windows or macOS or Linux.
Chromebooks are also a poor choice for people who love to brag about gigahertz and terabytes and how many cores their system has.
So yes, I absolutely agree with you. Chromebooks aren’t for everyone.
But here are segments of the market where Chromebooks are perfect — business and BYOD.
The biggest advantage that Chromebooks bring to the table is that they are a no-nonsense computing platform that allows people to focus on getting the job done without the distractions of updates and antivirus and bloatware and nags to download and install the latest and greatest operating system.
Chromebooks are so incredibly low maintenance that for someone coming from a big platform — especially Windows — it can feel rather disconcerting initially. The amount of time that a Chromebook user needs to spend on maintenance can be measured in seconds.
About 10 seconds a month.
There’s also no malware to worry about. All Chromebook applications are safely sandboxed, all local data encrypted, and verified boot makes sure that nothing dodgy is loaded when the system boots up.
Lost and stolen systems — something that admins worry about a lot — are not a problem with Chromebooks. Data is backed up automatically in the background, and in the event that a Chromebook does go missing, not only can it be remotely locked and wiped, but all that’s needed to get the person mourning the loss of their device back in the game is hand them a new Chromebook. Migrating all the data and settings to the new system is as simple as just logging into it.
Chromebooks remove almost all of the hassles that plague the Windows ecosystem, and bring benefits at a price point that Apple cannot match with its MacBooks.
Chromebooks are the new ‘it just works’ platform.”