Blog from Jun 22, 2011

Chromebook Pilot Begins

Google formally released its first batch of Chromebooks last week and IT has received its first few to test in a pilot program. The Chromebooks, produced by Samsung and Acer, are netbook-style laptops running a customized, pared down version of Linux with the Google Chrome browser. Chromebooks are fast to start up and are designed to be very reliable, with patches delivered quickly from Google's servers and security built from the ground up.

Chromebooks are optimized for web-based apps and browsing, and have minimal local storage and no application level access on the device. They are designed to be devices for accessing the web, not for local processing.

We're interested in whether Chromebooks might be a good fit for situations where people need temporary laptops, such as for visiting students/faculty, and for employees who travel only occasionally and might check one out from a pool. Chromebooks are ideal for multi-user situations because of their limited local storage and easy management.

We'll be putting a Chromebook in the new Reading Room at the cafeteria sometime early next month so that Lab folks can check in out. In the meantime, if you have one or have any feedback on the idea, let us know. We'll update with additional blog posts as our pilot progresses.

More about Chromebook from Google

New Gmail Gadgets to Try

Gmail has a feature in Labs called "Add any gadget by URL" that allows users to add iGoogle gadgets (or any gadget that is an .xml file) to the side of your Gmail account. 

In order to install any of these gadgets:

1. From your Gmail account, go to the Labs tab in Settings.

2. Look for "Add an gadget by URL." After enabling it, click "Save Changes."

3. Go to the new "Gadgets" tab under "Settings" and add the gadget's .xml address.

Gadgets to Try





Sticky Note


Poly Clock (World Clock)


Currency Converter


Google Calendar


Google Docs


Click here for more info. 

Pasting Images into Messages

Initially, Gmail employed a function that let users drag/drop images from their desktop right into the compose window. Now, with the latest version of Google Chrome, users can paste images right from their clipboard. For example, users can copy an image from the internet, email, etc. and paste it right into the email message. Click here for more info. 

*Currently, this only works in the Chrome browser. Google is working on enabling other browsers to have this function as well.