A topic that comes up when we discuss Chromebooks and the capabilites of ChromeOS is the ability (or perceived inability) for users to install their favourite programs and apps. Superficially this inability is present — it is correct to say that people can’t just install Microsoft Office on their newly purchased Chromebook.
However, the story doesn’t end there.
The Chrome Web Store allows users of Chrome (including ChromeOS) to install a wide variety of extensions, apps and themes inside your Chrome Browser, regardless of platform — Windows, Mac, Linux and ChromeOS are all supported. Extensions offer the ability to have extra functions installed into the Chrome Browser which can become a stand alone function or app in some cases on ChromeOS.
Some of these extensions cover day-to-day life on the internet, offering integration with popular tools like Facebook, Twitter, IRC (Internet Relay Chat), SSH (Secure Shell for remote systems administration), Google Drive plugins of various sorts and Instant Messenger options such as Google talk. Now that Chromebooks are starting to gain traction in Australia, the Auschrome team thought it would be good to put regular posts out about extensions that we use to increase the functionality of our own devices for daily use.
The use of extensions can vary greatly from simple, automated processes through to something such as the previously mentioned IRC or IM clients that require a login to function. Regardless of their specific function, it is important to understand that a good Chrome extension can alter your use of the Chrome browser or Chromebook from a pure web consumption device to a daily use machine that enables productivity and communication.
Finding and choosing Chrome extensions couldn’t be easier, or more familiar to those who are already in the Android ecosystem. Simply visit the Chrome Web Store to search for and install any extension you care to try. A simple recommendation is to try what catches your attention, search for extensions that fill your need and enjoy ChromeOS for its simplicity and mobility.