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Is a Google Chrome Notebook Right for You?

Is a Google Chrome Notebook Right for You?

    If you’ve been living under a rock, or just don’t follow the tech industry all that closely, you might not be aware that Google has been working on their Chrome operating system and a notebook that runs off of it.  In late 2010 they began taking applications for people to test out the never-to-be-released, beta notebooks known by the moniker CR-48.  They’ve since distributed the notebooks to a select group of media people and other random folks chosen from the applications, and on Wednesday word began to leak about when a Chrome-powered notebook might actually be available to consumers for purchase.  It looks as though at least one Chrome notebook will hit the market this summer, but how do you know if this would be the right purchase for you?  Here are a few things to consider:

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    What will you use it for?

    If you’re hoping to get a Chrome notebook to replace your existing laptop or desktop computer, it’s not quite there yet.  Having used the CR-48 for several weeks now, I would say it’s a great internet device.  There is no physical harddrive included in the setup, and you can’t run programs like Photoshop on it.  But if all you want to do is surf the net or type up a report, it’s perfect.  It’s lightweight, boots incredibly fast, and has an amazing battery life.  It’s great for taking along, and for browsing the web while lounging on the couch.

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    Like Android and iPhone smartphones, Chrome notebooks rely on apps for additional functionality.  Apps for the device are available in the Android Market.  And if you really do need to save something, the device includes a SD card slot so you may as well invest in a fairly large capacity SD card if you just can’t break away from the habit of saving everything on a physical piece of memory, rather than having it out there in the cloud somewhere.

    Right now, a Chrome notebook won’t completely replace a traditional computer.  You’ll want to check them out though if all you really want is another cool toy that will let you surf the net.

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    How much do you have to spend?

    For a notebook that lacks a harddrive and a CAPSLOCK key (they replaced it with a search button — genius!!), I can’t say I’d see them pricing it ridiculously high. My guess is they’ll be valued at around $500 MSRP, give or take a few dollars.

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    The latest rumor is that the search giant will release the notebook as a subscription service, with users paying in the $10-20 per month range.  Those who’d rather not deal with monthly fees could skip the installment payments and just buy it outright.  In other words, if you’re lacking funds to pay for it, you can get on the subscription service and pay only a little bit at a time.  Or if you’ve got extra cash and, you can just pay for the thing all at once and not have to worry about making a monthly payment. The subscription service, however, will make the Chrome notebook available to more people.

    Summary:

    The Chrome notebook isn’t quite up to snuff to compete with enterprise computing, but for the average Joe consumer, it’s got mostly everything needed.  You can still plug-in your digital camera and upload your photos to Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, or whatever other online photo sharing service  you use, you can check your email, surf the net, and write a report with Google Docs.   It’s a great device for when you really don’t need “everything”, and boasts some pretty good specs. It’s just so simple and easy to use.

    If you’re itching to get your hands on a Chrome notebook and weren’t selected to be a part of the CR-48 program, don’t fret — they’re hitting the market soon.  On Wednesday sources indicated that at least one model would be available in June/July, which is not that far around the corner.  It will be interesting to see how the consumer devices have been altered from the CR-48 test units, but I don’t expect it to be a far cry from what I’ve already seen.

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    Julie McCormick

    Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

    Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

    Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

    Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

    In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

    1. ScheduleOnce

      ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

      ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

      ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

      Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

      Available on Web

      2. Calendly

        Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

        You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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        Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

        3. Assistant.to

          For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

          From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

          While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

          Available on Web

          4. Acuityscheduling

            Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

            It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

            Available on Web | iOS | Android

            5. Pick

              Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

              At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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              Available on Web

              6. X.ai

                For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                Available on Web

                7. YouCanBook.me

                  is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                  They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                  Available on Web

                  8. Doodle

                    Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                    It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                    You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                    While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                    Available on Web | iOS | Android

                    9. WhenAvailable

                      WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                      Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                      Available on Web

                      10. Rally

                        Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                        Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                        Available on Web

                        11. NeedtoMeet

                          Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                          NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                          While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                          Available on Web

                          Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                          In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                          To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                          Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                          A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                          Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                          If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                          Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                          With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                          The Bottom Line

                          Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                          Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                          Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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