The Chromebook is a fantastic computer and has become even more popular over the last few years. This is because people are starting to realise that working on a computer locally, and saving all your files locally, is no longer a wise thing to do. That is why when working with a Chromebook you should take advantage of working on files saved in the cloud, as the Chromebook makes this a seamless process when using your Chromebook with Google Drive.
One of the main reasons why the Chromebook did not take off when it was first launched in 2012, was the concerns about the Chromebook having a very small hard disk. However, the launch of Google Drive shortly after the Chromebook launched dealt with many of these issues.
Another issue people were unhappy about with the Chromebook was the need for an internet connection to use your Chromebook. Google quickly fixed this problem by making the Chromebook Operating System (Chrome OS) work seamlessly with many of the Google apps that now have the ability to work offline. This means you can work on files with your Chromebook even without an internet connection, and once an internet connection is established the changes made on your Chromebook would be synced with Google Drive.
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is a cloud based storage system, and is one of the most popular cloud based storage systems for the consumer market. There are many other cloud based storage systems available to the consumer market, and you’re not limited to using Google Drive for your Chromebook computer. However, Google Drive, unsurprisingly, works seamlessly with the Google Chromebook, so it makes sense to use Google Drive if you have a Chromebook.
What is cloud based storage?
Cloud based storage isn’t a new technology, and cloud based storage was first realised in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the middle of the 2000s when cloud storage companies such as Dropbox were released to the consumer market. Google Drive was launched in 2012, which doesn’t seem that long ago, which shows the technology for the consumer market is still fairly new. The Chromebook was launched in 2011, and it desperately needed a cloud based storage service for the Chromebook to survive, so it’s no coincidence that Google Drive was launched a year later, and that Google Drive was designed to work seamlessly with Chromebooks.
Many people who are new to cloud based storage still struggle with what it actually is, and what it actually means. Simply put, cloud based storage means you save files on a server such as Google Drive; rather than saving your files locally, on your Chromebooks hard disk. This is why the Google Chromebook has a very small hard disk, as it has been designed for your files to be saved on Google Drive; rather than on your Chromebooks local hard disk.
What does saving files in the cloud actually mean?
When you save a file on a cloud based storage system such as Google Drive, it is referred to saving files in the cloud, but that doesn’t really explain where the files are saved. If you were using a Chromebook and you saved your files on Google Drive, it simply means the files are stored on servers owned by Google. These servers have been set-up so you can easily access and save files to the server, which specifically allocates space for your files, which nobody else can access.
Companies such as Google have huge data centres based around the world, also known as server farms; and these server farms are full of servers where data from your Google Drive is stored. These servers are in highly secure data centres to keep your data safe. Also, Google regularly backup the data on these servers, so in the unlikely event a server crashed; your data would still be accessible on your Chromebook, and your data would simply be transferred onto another server, and you could access your Google Drive files on your Chromebook as normal. This means providing you use Google Drive with your Chromebook, your data is safe. These data centres are at the cutting edge of technology, and the temperature is controlled by huge fans and air conditioning to ensure the servers run at an optimal temperature.
The data centres owned by Google, where your Google Drive files are stored, are not only housed in cutting edge buildings, but the servers themselves are the very latest in server technology. This ensures you can access your data from your Chromebook at lightning speed, and this is helped by the datacentres having direct connections to the internet. This makes accessing files on your Chromebook that are stored on Google Drive a really easy, fast and simple process.
This is why accessing files from Google Drive can be just as fast as accessing files on your Chromebooks local hard disk, ok, maybe not as fast as that, but the speed of accessing files on Google Drive is pretty impressive, and the difference is almost unnoticeable compared to accessing files you may have stored locally on your Chromebook.
Is it safe to store your files on Google Drive rather than your Chromebooks local hard disk?
When using your Chromebook it may feel strange at first saving your data to Google Drive, and people unfamiliar of saving in the cloud may be naturally cautious of whether it’s safe. However, saving data on Google Drive is much safer than saving data on a local hard disk. This is why it’s always best to save work from your Chromebook onto Google Drive.
For example, say you were a writer and you have purchased a Chromebook to write your next novel. If you saved this on your Chromebooks hard disk, what would you do if your Chromebook suddenly broke? You may have backed up your work on a separate hard disk, but unless you made backups on a regular basis, you could still lose a few days of hard work. If you didn’t have a backup, and your hard disk was unrecoverable, all of your hard work stored locally on your Chromebook would have been lost.
However, if you decided to save your novel written on your Chromebook, and you saved your novel to Google Drive, if your Chromebook died on you, and you couldn’t get the Chromebook repaired, you wouldn’t have lost any of your hard work. This is because all of your work, right up to the second your Chromebook gave up on you, would have been saved on Google Drive.
Data saved on Google Drive is available on any device
Still using the example above, it would be really frustrating if your Chromebook did give up on you, but it wouldn’t be as frustrating as having your work saved on your local hard disk. Sure, you would have to buy yourself a new Chromebook, but you wouldn’t have lost any of your hark work.
This is the great thing about the Chromebook and using Google Drive with your Chromebook. The example above explains a specific scenario, but it also shows how easy it is to save your work on Google Drive when using your Chromebook, and not having to worry if your Chromebook dies on you, as your work would still be available on Google Drive.
If you were unfortunate enough to have a Chromebook die on you, all you would need to access your data again, is to buy yourself a new Chromebook, once you had logged into your new Chromebook with your Google Account details; all of your work on your Google Drive would be instantly available to you.
There is nothing you need to do, you don’t need to re-write your work, or if you did have a backup, there is no issue of having to restore your work from a backup copy, and then having to check how much was backed up, and whether you had to re-write work that hadn’t been backed up. You could simply access your files using your new Chromebook from Google Drive.
You wouldn’t even need to necessarily buy a new Chromebook, as you can access Google Drive from almost any device using your login credentials. So you could access your work from any Windows or Apple based computer, or even a mobile phone or tablet.
This makes cloud storage extremely safe to use, and is the best way to protect your data from being lost forever, should your Chromebook die on you. Google is the largest technology company in the world, and they invest huge amounts of money into their brand. They are well aware that keeping your data safe is of the upmost importance, for both them, and you the customer. It’s no coincidence that Google created the Chromebook, on the understanding, that the local hard disk would be small compared to other computers.
The vision Google has, is that everyone will work from the cloud in the future, and what better way of getting people used to this technology, other than offering us the Chromebook. This isn’t Google forcing people to the cloud, its Google trying to make people change their habits, as technology is forever moving forward, and having a computer where you store files locally will be a thing of the past in ten years from now.
This vision will only be successful if people feel their data is safe, and this is why Google Drive is regularly backed up, and is also backed up at different locations. If the worst case scenario happened, and a whole data centre was destroyed by an act of nature, there isn’t any need to worry, as Google has plans in place for such disasters, and your data is stored at different locations in case such an event occurred.
Files you download and save on your Chromebook when web browsing
One thing the Chromebook is great for is browsing the internet, and when browsing the internet you may want to save certain files such as articles, pictures or videos that you would like to access at a later date. You would save these files just as you would on any other computer, and these files would be saved in your download folder on your Chromebook. Or you may have just booked yourself a holiday abroad and need to download PDF documents for the hotel booking, or your flight reservation. Again, these would also be saved in your download folder, which is your Chromebooks local hard disk.
The downloads folder on your Chromebook
When you’re using a Chromebook any files that you save whilst browsing the internet are automatically saved to your Chromebooks download folder. You should see your download folder as your hard disk, as this is where the download folder is located. At a later date you can simply access these files from the download folder. It’s worth remembering, a file saved to the download folder is saved on your Chromebooks local hard disk, and these files are not saved on Google Drive.
You can decide to leave files in your Chromebooks download folder, and the only limitation you would have is how much disk space you have available. So its good practice to regularly check what is in your Chromebooks download folder. If you have files you want to keep it would be best to move these files to your Google Drive, and this will free up hard disk space on your Chromebook, it also means the files are safer than if they were just stored locally on your Chromebooks hard disk.
Another great benefit of storing your Chromebook files on Google Drive
As mentioned previously, perhaps you’ve decided to book yourself a well-deserved holiday, and it’s all a bit last minute. You download the flight tickets and hotel booking confirmation and save them to your Google Drive, on the understanding you will be printing off the tickets before you arrive at the airport. However, if you forgot to print the tickets, and you needed your booking reference to print your boarding tickets at the check-in desk, you would be in a bit of a situation, if you had downloaded your tickets to your Chromebooks hard disk, and hadn’t moved them to Google Drive.
Almost everyone today has a mobile phone, and because you can access your Google Drive from your mobile phone, means you could easily access the flight reservation information from your phone, and this would allow you to show the necessary booking reference at the check-in desk. This would have saved you a whole lot of time and unnecessary stress. This is why most people who purchase a Chromebook and use Google Drive to keep their files safe, very rarely go back to saving files on a local hard disk. It’s just more convenient and safe, and you can access your data from anywhere, on any device, not just your Chromebook.
Working on your Chromebook when you have no internet connection
If you travel a lot, and perhaps it takes a couple of hours to travel to work every day, then you’ll know how tiresome travelling for work can be. This gives you a great opportunity to make the most of this time, and being able to work on files you’ve saved on Google Drive is a great way of making sure any travelling time isn’t wasted being unproductive.
The Chromebook allows you to easily select files you want to work with offline. This has become easier with every update Google has done to the Chrome OS and Google Drive. To do this you just need to use your Chromebook to find the file, files or folder on your Google Drive, right click and select ‘Available offline’.
This will then sync a copy of the files from Google Drive onto your Chromebooks local hard disk. This will then allow you to access and edit those files directly from your Chromebook without an internet connection, and any amendments are temporarily saved on your Chromebooks local hard disk. As soon as your Chromebook receives an internet connection, whether that’s once you’ve reached the office, or when you get home that night; the files and the amendments you made on your Chromebook would then sync with Google Drive.
You can make files or folders permanently available offline, so you don’t need to worry about doing this on a regular basis. Once you’ve selected a file or folder to be available offline, it will stay like that until you choose to change the setting for that specific file or folder. This means you can easily work on files using your Chromebook whether you have an internet connection or not, and as soon as an internet connection is available, your work is synced with Google Drive.
You don’t need to worry about hitting the save icon
Something else that can take time getting used to with a Chromebook, is that you don’t need to worry about constantly pressing the save icon. If you’ve ever worked on files where you are putting in a lot of detail, you would have most likely got used to hitting the save icon on a regular basis. As there is nothing worse than working on a file and the computer crashes, if you didn’t hit the save icon you would have lost all your work.
When working on files on your Chromebook the document is automatically saved on a regular basis to the cloud, and in this instance we are referring to your Google Drive. This does take some getting used to because it’s almost natural to click on the save icon when you’re working on something you don’t want to lose. This also means you don’t need to worry about your Chromebook crashing, as the file you would have been working on would be saved to Google Drive. Also, I’ve had a Chromebook since they were first launched in 2012, and I can honestly say my Chromebook hasn’t crashed once during this time. However, it’s still nice to know any files you’re working on are automatically and regularly saved to Google Drive.
I hope this article has explained how the Chromebook and Google Drive work together in harmony, and the Chromebook is the future of computing. The Chromebooks popularity is growing, and this is due to its easy to use operating system, and how using Google Drive with your Chromebook makes complete sense. Gone are the days where you need to worry about your hard work being lost, as using a Chromebook correctly, with Google Drive, means you can get on with using your Chromebook and forget about any concerns you may have about your data.
Your Google Account comes with 15GB of free storage, which means you have 15GB for your emails and any files you want to save to Google Drive. When you compare this to the competition, it isn’t hard to see that Google Drive is one of the best cloud based storage systems available, and using Google Drive with your Chromebook is the obvious choice to make. You can also buy extra storage space for your Google Drive, and the prices are extremely competitive when compared to the competition.
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