Despite the notoriously intuitive interface and the overall air of simplicity that Google’s new Chromebooks put on, it’s important to remember that they are, in fact, still machines. Being machines, their owners will occasionally be able to benefit from a simple, straightforward instruction manual.
For many, it’s much easier to learn a machine like the Chromebook by reading — well — a book. For me, it’s much easier to hold a textural book in my hands and flip to the parts I need, rather than trying to navigate on a laptop screen and repeatedly “tab” back and forth between what I’m reading and what I’m trying to do. Luckily, there are several helpful books out there that can help you learn your new Chromebook inside and out.
A Chrome OS Guide for Complete Idiots
The bestselling “instruction manual” for the Chromebook is Paul McFedries’ The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Google Chrome and Chrome OS. If you’ve ever spent any time in a bookstore at all, you’ll recognize the familiar orange cover that pervades the entire Complete Idiot’s Guide series.
One of the good things about this book is that you know what you’re getting — all Dummies and Complete Idiot’s Guide books follow a basic formula with good organization and exhaustive amounts of information for when you need it. This is the most “expensive” book about the Chromebook on the market (only by a couple dollars), but at a length of 304 pages, is the most thorough. Amazon tends to have a much lower price on this book than other bookstores, and generally has used copies of the book in new condition that can save you some money.
A Definitive Guide for Chromebooks
CreateSpace’s appropriately-titled paperback guide The Chrome Book is about half the cost of other Chromebook guides. At a slim 82 pages, this “essential” guide to the Google Chromebook isn’t an all-out manual, but it still provides enough information for most. In addition, as a book for Chromebook owners specifically, it takes into account hardware aspects of Samsung and Acer Chromebooks as well as the nuances of the minimalist operating system.
Specific topics covered in this introductory guide include using the Chrome operating system, apps to help you be productive, and other tips to help you get the most out of a new Chromebook.
This book is what it claims to be, an essential guide to cloud computing with Google Chrome, Chrome OS, and the Chromebook. It is generally the least expensive of the three, at under eight dollars with free shipping on Amazon. Even better, a Kindle version is also available for only $3.99.
Yet Another Chromebook Guide
Michael Miller’s 288-page My Google Chromebook
guide provides step-by-step instructions for numerous tasks everyone will want to accomplish with their Chromebooks. Unlike similar guides, it’s packed with full-color pages explaining in detail how to perform essential tasks, as well as more advanced ones. Besides practical guides and instructions, this book will also quickly get you up to speed on concepts like working in the cloud and monitoring your 3G data usage to avoid overage charges.
Some of the topics covered include setting up a Chromebook, logging in, using the operating system, connecting to the internet/3G, managing files, photos, videos, music, extensions, security, productivity, printing, troubleshooting, and much more — far too many to list here. At about $15 ($9 for the Kindle version) for a full-color Chromebook guide, you can’t go wrong.
Any of these books will help you learn how to use your Chromebook fast. With all three guides being under $20, the choice basically comes down to personal preference. My favorite is the last book, however, for its full color pictures and huge amount of information on general use, apps and troubleshooting. Whether you want to get the most out of the Chromebook that’s sitting on your lap, or you’re about to head into the cloud with a brand new Chromebook, these books will get you up to speed fast, and become a handy reference on your shelf for when you need it.