Problems of practice that inspired Gopher for Chrome
Schools are making considerable investments in fleets of domain-managed Chrome OS devices, and IT admins seeking to get the greatest value from their Chromebook investment will often need to:
- Manage device and user policies at the organizational unit level. For example, need to convert instructional devices into kiosk mode for testing, and back again.
- Maintain accurate metadata in the Google Chrome management console, including annotated user, device location, asset ID, and notes fields. It is frequently the case that data from 3rd party asset management or barcoding systems needs to be imported into the Chrome management console so they can be used in reporting on device usage data.
- Monitor device usage to identify under-utilization, reallocate devices, or provide targeted supports where needed. For example, stale last sync times or outdated Chrome OS versions can be great proxies for dormant devices.
- Respond to incidents of damage or vandalism by analyzing device usage history, or user activity across devices.
- Assess Chrome OS update status on devices across the domain.
The challenge with many of these essential activities above is that, while most of them can be accomplished manually in the Chrome management console, these tasks cannot be easily accomplished in bulk, at the scale of thousands of devices.
Also, reporting on a single user’s activity across devices is not currently possible in the Chrome device management console.
The Gopher for Chrome solution
Chrome Gopher is an Add-on for Google Sheets that allows for Chrome device data to be imported, filtered, analyzed, and bulk-updated right from the sidebar of a Google Sheet.
Examples of the kinds of activities that you can perform with Chrome Gopher:
- Isolate a group of devices by enrollment time, annotated location, or another field and bulk-move them into an organizational unit.
- Populate annotated user, location, notes, or asset ID for devices from a 3rd party export and bulk update the Chrome console from the data in the Sheet.
- Filter devices by make, model, partial serial number, mac address, or Chrome OS build for inventory and upkeep.
- Identify under-utilized devices or devices with incorrect policies and settings by monitoring Chrome OS update state and/or last sync date in different org units.
- Run reports to show all usage session activity for a single device or user, which can be useful when tracking down causes of damage.
- Accurately filter and identify whether devices are up to date with their currently-supported Chrome release.
- Track down whether or not a device is in the right hands, ensuring your users are on the device assigned to them.