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August 14, 2017

Be My Guest

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

All major operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, and Android, have features that let multiple people use a single device. That’s a great tool, but not widely-used. In my books, I say that it’s easier to get a second device than to juggle multiple users on a single gizmo, especially a phone or tablet.

The Chrome web browser, however, has a simple shortcut: You can activate Guest Mode.

My son Jonah came to visit recently. He’d scheduled a collaboration session in Google Docs. At a specific time, he wanted to use one of my computers to go online and work on a shared document.

I could have configured an account for him on the Windows computer, but that would take a while. Further, he wasn’t going to be a regular user on that system, so why waste the time and storage?

Another approach would be for me to sign out of Google and then have him just use the web browser but still under my Windows account. That’s also a valid solution, but Chrome offers a better way.

In Figure 1, you see a screen grab of the upper right corner of Chrome on my PC (Windows 10). If you use Chrome, you too have seen your name lurking up there in the right corner. What this tool does is let you manage accounts for Chrome itself. And, as you can see from the figure, there is a Guest mode available.

Figure 1. The user menu on the Chrome web browser.

Before my lad used the computer, I clicked the button and chose Guest. At that point, he could use Chrome without any of my preset items: cookies, autofill forms, bookmarks, and so on. He signed into Google Docs and began his collaboration. (Though none of his collaborators showed up.)

I know that I’ve harped in the past about people who do use a single computer between two or more people. It’s the family PC in the den and the kids fight over it, and Mom and Dad use it when they can. Unfortunately, they all do so under the same account.

You can create individual accounts, ensuring that everyone has their own workspace, preferences, and — most importantly — email. It’s crazy that people don’t do this. I know that it’s not the easiest thing to manage, but unless you can afford a computer for everyone, that’s the solution you need.

And if you don’t want to create accounts or buy everyone a PC or laptop, then you can use the account feature in Chrome to configure multiple people/accounts for the web browser. Is that too much to ask?

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