The Chromebook is a form factor that splits opinion, as we previously discovered when we asked you what you thought of the netbook-like devices from Google. However, the Chromebook isn’t going away anytime soon, with Google expanding the number of markets it’s selling Chromebooks in.
We’ve previously answered the question, What is a Chromebook? We’ve also given away a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook to one lucky reader, with our own Danny Stieben giving the device a positive review. Unfortunately all of this awesome can get a new Chromebook owner only so far, at which point they’ll undoubtedly turn to the Web for additional help and advice.
What follows are Web resources that could prove invaluable to any Chromebook owner struggling to get to grips with their new computer. It isn’t that the Linux-based Chrome OS is difficult to master – in fact it’s incredibly simple – but it takes some getting used to if you’ve moved across from Windows or Mac OS X.
Your first port of call should be the official Google support pages related to Chromebooks and Chrome OS. These pages cover all of the basics, explaining what Chrome OS is and how to initially set it up to get online and start using your new device.
Chrome OS is fairly intuitive to use, but it’s the slight differences between this and other operating systems that is most likely to cause the occasional headache. For those times when you get stuck and cannot easily find a solution to your problem online (perhaps at MakeUseOf Answers) there are links to the hardware manufacturers and the chance to contact a Chrome Ninja.
Chromebook Central is a forum for Chromebook owners built in Google Groups (unless and until it gets culled like Google Reader). This is the official community for those seeking help, advice, tips, and tricks related to the Chromebook, Chromebox, and Chrome OS.
This official stature means those running the site, moderating the group, and answering the questions really know their stuff. As usual with forums, it’s often a good idea to search for older entries related to an issue you’re having rather than blindly asking the question again. Thankfully Google is rather good at searching.
Chromebook Forum is, as the name suggests, another forum dedicated to all things Chromebook. This is laid out in the more traditional bulletin board style and has more of a community feel to it where people discuss things rather than request, and get granted, an answer to an issue they’ve encountered.
There are sections dedicated to emerging news about Chrome OS, each of the models (including the Chromebook Pixel), technical help, an off-topic lounge, and even a marketplace for those seeking to buy or sell a Chrome device. You could, and likely will, spend several hours browsing the forum for topics of interest. Of which there are many.
OMG! Chrome! is a great site covering all things Chrome, as the name may have tipped you off. Being all things Chrome means it covers more than just Chromebooks, with the Web browser, extensions, and apps all included as well. But as the Chromebook relies on the Chrome Web browser so heavily that only adds to its appeal.
There is a section dedicated to Chromebook News, but digging deeper into the other categories is how new and existing Chromebook owners will wring worth from this site. How-to guides, Web app news, and extension reviews are all likely to appeal to regular MakeUseOf readers.
Chrome Story is a site very much in the same mold as OMG! Chrome! It’s wholly dedicated to all things Chrome, including the hardware that is powered by Google. With a minimalist look that eschews fancy graphics in favor of useful information, Chrome Story oozes style, though the typos and grammar issues are slightly off-putting. But then I am a grammar Nazi.
This is a site with Chromebook resources that deserves bookmarking as it’s updated on a daily basis. If a piece of news breaks that’s in any way related to Chrome (in all its various guises) then Chrome Story will have covered it. There are also how-to guides, hacks and tips, and a section dedicated to ‘‘ for those who don’t take life too seriously.
If you’ve read this far then I suspect you own a Chromebook, perhaps as a secondary computer. If so then feel free to share other Web resources you’ve discovered that are designed to assist Chromebook owners learn Chrome OS inside and out. The five listed here are, after all, just a soupcon of what’s available.
The comments section below is also open to non-Chromebook owners who have found themselves reading this article by accident. Are you considering purchasing a Chromebook in the near future? If so, what one factor has turned you on to the fledgling Google form factor?