Q: I see a Gopher icon in my extensions tray. What does the Gopher Buddy Chrome Extension actually do?
Gopher Buddy has multiple features that can be enabled by school IT administrators to assist with better Chromebook management and performance:
- It can track device session data like Google username, device ID, IP address, timestamp, and length of session. This data is allowed to be collected only on school-managed devices for school-managed user accounts. This session data is identical to data collected by most other user-based online platforms. Data collected is stored in a secure database, and made available to IT administrators for reporting & management purposes. No browsing behavior or geographic location data is collected.
- It can be configured to allow students and teachers access to useful information about the device they are logged into, like Serial Number, Asset ID, or assigned user -- information that is otherwise difficult to access.
- It can be configured to "nudge" users to update their Chrome OS version.
Q: Doesn't Chrome already update automatically?
It's supposed to, yes, but most updates also require a reboot of your Chromebook, and often students forget to reboot after updates are downloaded. Gopher Buddy's optional reminders are meant to ensure you don't forget.
Q: Why does it matter if my Chrome device has the latest version?
Google is constantly improving Chrome, making it more secure, and adding new features that software developers can use to build great apps. Certain applications can’t run unless they have the newest version.
Q: Help, I keep trying to update my device, but it never updates…
In some cases, if Chrome has gotten really far behind, you may not be able to update it from chrome://settings/help. If you believe this has happened to the device you are using, you should let your teacher or technology department know so they can re-flash the device from a USB.
Q: Does Gopher Buddy allow my school to spy on me?
By most normal standards of "spying," NO. Any secure web service you use -- whether it's Gmail, Instagram, or Snapchat -- needs to keep track of what account you are logged in as, what network IP address you are logging in from, and the timestamp of when you used the service. When secure online service is managed by a business or a school, it's quite normal and even necessary for security reasons for these data logs to be visible to the administrators of the service.
Q: Can my network IP address be used to find my physical location?
If you are using your device within a school-operated network, typically the answer is yes. Outside of the school network, unless your internet provider has agreed cooperate with law enforcement, an IP address cannot be used by school administrators to know a user's geographic location.
Q: Is Gopher Buddy blocking me from visiting certain websites?
No. If your school is choosing to block websites, they must be using a different software to do so. Web traffic control is not a feature of Gopher Buddy.