Intel is trying to ease the transition to the cloud for anyone who picked up a Chromebook this season.
The chipmaker has launched a free "Easy Migration" tool for Chromebooks with Intel processors inside. With a few clicks, users can move their contacts, files, photos, and bookmarks to a Google account, making them accessible through the web. The migration app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows, and if you don't know what kind of processor your Chromebook is using, you can install a Chrome extension to find out.
Each of the apps offers a "quick migration" that transfers photos, contacts and bookmarks, but there's also a "custom" option that lets you transfer music, videos, and documents as well. The tool then uploads photos and videos to Google+ Photos, sends files to Google Drive, adds bookmarks to the Chrome browser, and migrates contacts to Google Contacts.
On the downside, the tool won't help you replace your desktop and mobile apps with web-based versions, and it doesn't add your music files to Google Play Music. (For that, you'll want to use Google's Music Manager software.) And if you want to use other web services besides Google's offerings — for instance, Microsoft OneDrive storage for editing documents through Office Online — Intel's tool won't give you that flexibility.
Still, it's a quick-and-dirty way to make your files available through the cloud, and with Google offering 1 TB of Drive storage for two years with any Chromebook purchase, you won't have to worry about paying for all that cloud data anytime soon.
Why this matters: Though Chromebooks have plenty of appeal as simple, lightweight computing devices, the transition can be tricky if you're coming from a Windows machine with years of old files that you want to preserve. Even if Intel doesn't go the distance in getting users set up in the cloud, it's at least getting them started — and it gives Intel-powered Chromebooks a way to stand out from their ARM-based rivals.
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