2019's most important Chrome OS advice and analysis

Calling all Chromebook owners: Your holiday reading list awaits you.

Chromebook Tips 2017
Stephen Shankland (CC BY-SA 2.0)

More than any other platform, Chrome OS is in a constant state of evolution — and if you blink for a minute, you're bound to miss some significant new improvement or addition.

I mean, heck, this past year alone, Chrome OS has gained a Virtual Desks system for advanced productivity, platform-wide support for a Chromebook-optimized version of the Google Assistant, and a host of smaller but no less significant Android-like additions. Google has also committed to stepping up its stance on software support for Chrome OS devices, and the makers of Chromebooks have started exploring some interesting new hardware options that could add an awful lot of appeal for business users. And, as usual, all of this fast-paced progress shows no sign of slowing down soon.

The best part? Whether you're a new Chromebook convert or a Chrome OS vet, the ecosystem's ongoing evolution means there's always something new to learn and consider. So behold: some of 2019's most useful and thought-provoking Chromebook tidbits. Catch up while you can and make sure you're making the most of your work and/or personal technology.

Part I: Chrome OS advice

The most important thing to check before buying a Chromebook

Save yourself from buyer's remorse by thinking through what a Chrome OS device-maker won't tell you.

Chromebook cheat sheet: How to get started

Got a new Chromebook? This guide will help you navigate the ever-expanding world of Chromebook apps and figure out how to make the most of Chrome OS.

22 worthwhile ways to use Google Assistant on a Chromebook

Google Assistant is finally working its way into the fabric of Chrome OS, and it's bringing with it some interesting new possibilities.

The smart worker's guide to using a Chromebook offline

Chrome OS may be cloud-centric at its core, but you can get plenty accomplished offline on a Chromebook — if you set things up thoughtfully in advance.

10 easy steps to make Chrome faster and more secure

Looking to speed up Chrome? Give me 10 minutes, and I'll give you a noticeably better browsing experience. (Note that these tips aren't specific to Chrome OS, but they absolutely do apply to it.)

The smarter way to capture screenshots in Chrome

The next time you need to capture a screenshot in Chrome, this handy hidden command will be your new best friend.

Android apps for Chromebooks: The essentials

Turn your Chromebook into a uniquely versatile modern computing machine with these Chrome-OS-enhancing apps.

The best Linux apps for Chromebooks

Make your Chromebook even more capable with this carefully selected set of Linux apps for expanding Chrome OS's potential as a business tool.

Part II: Chrome OS analysis

6 significant new Chromebook hardware trends

From extended keyboards to dual-purpose wireless charging panels, some interesting physical twists are on the horizon for our Chrome OS computers.

Making sense of Google's Pixelbook strategy

The missing piece of the puzzle that explains Google's curious-seeming 2019 laptop plan has finally fallen into place.

How Chrome OS Virtual Desks could change the way you work

A new feature now available on Chromebooks has tons of productivity potential. Here's how you can put it to use.

It's time to rethink the Chrome OS upgrade standard

Google's handling of Chrome OS upgrades has long been an asset for the platform — but now, it's starting to become a liability.

Google's Chrome OS upgrade changes are a solid start

Following the publication of the previous story, Google committed to a more sensible approach for Chromebook software support. Huzzah! Now let's see where it takes us.

And a bonus productivity-booster...

A simple way to supercharge Gmail snoozing

Make Gmail's web-based snoozing feature far more powerful with this easy-to-implement efficiency-boosting enhancement.

And with that, we've reached the end of our 2019 Chrome OS coverage. What a ride it's been, eh? Don't unbuckle yet, though: If there's one surefire prediction for 2020, it's that we'll have plenty more to discuss here in the ever-overlapping areas of Chrome OS and Android.

Enjoy the brief bout of quiet — 'cause it won't stay that way for long.

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[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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