Does Droneblocks Work on Chrome without signing in?

Hi folks. I am installing Droneblocks on computers that use Windows 10 and have student login (as different from the admin login)

I notice that I can install and run DroneBlocks IF I sign into a Google account after I install it as a Chrome extension, but it won’t work without that.

As not every student has a Google account I am trying to get this to work this year without having to go through this step.

Just to be clear: if I log in as an admin and remained signed into Google Chrome (my own Google account) everything works. If I try to install Droneblocks from a student account it works – as long as I am signed in and tell it that installing the app is OK

But if a student were to sign in (to the computer, not a Google account) and just fire up Chrome, DroneBlocks doesn’t show up on the apps list.

Is there a workaround here? Is there a version of DroneBlocks (or similar app) that works as a standalone program without needing to be signed into Chrome?

Any assistance is appreciated.

PS we have a no phones policy in the school so please do not suggest we connect that way. We have Chromebooks but they are… problematic.

It sounds like the student machines may be restricted? A couple of options come to mind:

  1. We have worked with many districts to get DroneBlocks approved so that it is more accessible. Maybe that’s a conversation we can have with your district IT dept.

  2. We have a desktop beta that is much more capable than the Chrome App, and can be downloaded as mentioned from this link: DroneBlocks Desktop (Beta) 0.1.5 for Mac and Windows with Mission Pad Support I’m curious if your students can download and run that version? Right now it’s just hosted in Dropbox as we work through the beta. But in the future we will submit it to the Microsoft and Mac app stores.

Let me know regarding option #2. I’m very curious to know what your restrictions are.

Also, can you shed some light on your comment about ChromeBooks being problematic? They were supposed to be all the rage for the classroom :wink:


To answer your last bit, the problem is that on our system Chromebooks require multiple sign-ins (it’s complicated) and for the stuff I do in my class they can’t really run the programs we need (Autodesk, for example). So for a lot of applications they just aren’t that great.

The other issue is that being on a Chromebook doesn’t stop kids from going to sites they shouldn’t. (Omegle, I am looking at you). It is hard for the IT department to keep up with the stuff we find we need to block, and it’s hard to do on a school-by-school basis, so I just dispense with the things because they often become more trouble than they are worth (frankly I think the move to computers in the classroom has merits, but I’d just as soon we worked with no Internet connections at all).

Anyhow, I discovered that if I set Droneblocks up in the task bar, it still seems to work even if you aren’t signed into a Google account, which is good - evidently the installation sort of works even if it isn’t “your” account, provided I load it on there with my admin access. But even so, last year we ran into permissions problems (there was a workaround but it was a bit of a slog, and it opened up a can of worms that made me glad not too many kids were that tech-savvy).

Your beta sounds great but… it’s a beta. I need something that I know will work. I’ll try it out though and see how stable it is.

To be honest I am surprised nobody developed a desktop version for laptops from the getgo. Stuff that goes all-mobile device is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, from a design and UX point of view. But that’s a philosophical problem I suppose.

Really appreciate the candid feedback. It’s always a challenge to detail with district IT departments, but maybe you’ve found a short-term workaround. I do hope you give the Desktop app a try. We are putting a lot of resources towards it and are making improvements weekly. Yes, we started with a bit of a mobile first strategy, but realize the challenges this can introduce in the classroom. Happy to chat through this some more and help you come to the right solution. Thanks.

Thanks to you as well; I will give the desktop app a try.

Ah good question. We need to get some documentation together on how to use the desktop version. Sorry for the confusion. To answer your question the DroneBlocks Desktop app saves photos/videos to the “Pictures” folder of the current user. In Windows you’ll find it here:

Same for Mac. Out of curiosity what operating system are you using?