September 22, 2020

Bits: Google’s Chrome Laptops on Sale in June

Selling Chromebooks is Google’s biggest push yet into taking on Microsoft’s and Apple’s operating systems.Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg NewsSelling Chromebooks is Google’s biggest push yet into taking on Microsoft’s and Apple’s operating systems.

Google’s long-awaited Chromebooks, laptops running the Chrome operating system that stores everything online, will go on sale in June, Google said at its I/O developers conference Wednesday.

The laptops, made by Acer and Samsung, will start at $349 at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. The computers, along with the software and technical support, will also be available to rent for schools and businesses, for $20 a month a student or $28 a month for each employee.

The Chrome operating system does away with desktop software and storing data on a computer. Instead, it is not much more than a browser, and all of a computer user’s information, like documents, photos and e-mail messages, is stored on the Internet, or in the cloud. The idea, if the Chrome operating system becomes mainstream, is that anyone could walk up to an Internet-connected computer anywhere and access their information.

“We’re venturing into a really new model of computing that I don’t think was possible previously, even a few years ago,” said Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, in a conversation with reporters. “I think it’s just a much easier way to compute.”

But in a world where most computer users are accustomed to using desktop software like Apple’s iPhoto or Microsoft Word, and storing data like photos and documents on a computer’s hard drive, it might be hard to convince them to adopt a very different model of computing.

That is one reason Google is going the route of businesses and schools. If students get used to a Web-based operating system, they might request it in their office later on, and if people use it at work, they might decide to buy one for their homes.

Selling Chromebooks is Google’s biggest push yet into taking on Microsoft’s and Apple’s operating systems. Half of businesses are still running the 2001 version of Windows XP, said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president for Chrome. Google automatically updates the Chrome operating system over the Internet.

“It’s software and hardware as a service,” Mr. Pichai said.

Google is also competing in the software business, because instead of using the desktop version of Microsoft Word, as most people do in offices and schools, Chrome users would use Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365, both of which are Web-based. They would also use other Web-based products instead of the desktop software versions, like Gmail for e-mail and Picasa for photos.

Google introduced the Chrome operating system in 2009 and showed an example of a laptop in December, but this is the first time the laptops will be widely available.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=4d0dcbc21a5f03054628dc02121a7519

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