What you need to know
- Google has purchased Neverware, the makers of the Windows to Chrome OS conversion service CloudReady.
- Google eventually intends to add CloudReady to its collection of Chrome OS offerings for subscribers.
- Commercial and education users will eventually be able to use the Google Admin console rather than a secondary Neverware Admin Console.
- No changes are planned for the free Home version of CloudReady at this time.
If you have a clunky old computer that still works but is just slow as molasses on Windows 10, one of the better options for getting a few more years out of it has been to convert it to CloudReady, a version of Chromium OS — the open-source version of the Chrome OS Chromebooks run — that is designed to run very well on older machines. The makers of CloudReady, Neverware, have expanded and refined CloudReady over the years, adding an admin console to make it easier to manage when used in schools and businesses and working to support a wider and wider array of legacy laptops and desktops.
Google has now purchased Neverware and will be making CloudReady part of its Chrome OS offerings eventually. For schools and businesses that use CloudReady, this is fantastic news because that means eventually you're going to be able to run everything through the Google Admin console, the same way they would when they get in a fresh shipment of the best business Chromebooks. Current contracts for the paid versions of CloudReady are being honored and a timeline hasn't been announced for when pricing may change or convert over to Google Workspace/G Suite for Education.
This is also good news in that it means that CloudReady computers might finally get access to the Google Play store and the apps/services that come with it. Since CloudReady wasn't the exact same as Chrome OS shipped on new Chromebooks, that means it couldn't get Google Play and thus couldn't install Android apps. Google purchasing Neverware means that this might finally change, but again, this will be a long ways off, as the response to the Play Store question on Neverware's acquisition FAQ states:
"No immediate changes are planned as a result of this transaction. For now, any changes to CloudReady's feature set will continue to be announced in release notes on the Neverware blog."
There are also no changes planned at this time for the free Home version of CloudReady, and I really hope Google either leaves it as it is or makes it a free download through Google. CloudReady Home is a great way to let people try out Chrome OS before they go buy a sweet new Chromebook and as a free upgrade, it allows people to use the tech they have longer and reduce e-waste, which is something Google should care about even if it doesn't make them money immediately. After a few months or years on CloudReady, when that old laptop dies, Chromebooks will still be ready and waiting for their dollars.
Give Chrome a try
Lenovo finally gave us the Chrome OS tablet experience that the Pixel Slate never delivered on, and if you're not sure if you want a Chromebook to be your next primary computer, this companion device is the perfect way to test the waters and binge reddit on the couch this Christmas.
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