Must read Ransomware as a service is the new big problem for business

Google quietly buys company that turns your old Windows 7 PC into Chrome OS machine

Google buys Neverware, a startup with Chrome OS variant that squeezes extra life out of old Windows PCs and Macs.

What is your company's Windows 7 exit strategy?

Google has quietly bought Neverware, a company that's created a variant of Chrome OS called CloudReady, which turns old Windows PCs into Chrome OS machines. 

CloudReady could be the perfect answer for those continuing to stick with, say, Windows 7 PCs – despite Microsoft having stopped delivering free patches since January 15. Importantly, CloudReady still gets patches and fixes just like Chrome OS, served up every six weeks. 

ZDNet's Steven J Vaughan-Nichols recently explained how to use CloudReady to replace Windows 7. As he notes, it could suit the average user who doesn't want to venture into Linux land.

SEE: Kubernetes security guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

CloudReady is typically offered to schools to breathe life into old PCs with G Suite for Education. The devices are managed via the Google Admin Console. But businesses and individuals can use it, too. Old Macs can also run CloudReady.

The Home edition is free, does not integrate with Google Admin Console and lacks technical support. The education subscription costs $20 per year per device with one year of technical support, while the enterprise option costs $49 per year per device. The paid-for options include one year of technical support. 

Neverware and CloudReady are joining Google and the Chrome OS team, Neverware said in a statement

There are no changes to Neverware's existing prices. 

"As CloudReady becomes an official Chrome OS offering, you can expect the release mechanics to fall in line with official Chrome OS releases," Neverware notes. 

Neverware was founded in 2011 and launched CloudReady in 2015. Google invested in a series B round in 2017. The company says it has 1.37 million installs

SEE: AWS is opening yet another cloud computing region

There are two notable catches with switching to CloudReady. After installing it, there's no returning to Windows, so users should make a backup of their files. 

Also, after transitioning, accessing a local drive becomes difficult because this Chrome-OS variant relies almost entirely on Google Drive for storage.