Google Chromebook – better or worse than a laptop ?

I was reading this article today at the NY Times, which offered an amusing introduction to Google Chromebook – the new laptop by Google. The article itself and a lot of comments that followed didn’t seem too impressed. Maybe you like it, maybe you don’t, but you will definitely agree that it is different. How so?

1. It does not run Windows BUT is still targeted towards people who think Ubuntu is …ummm, what exactly is it again?

2. The only thing you can do with it is surf the web BUT it still costs as much as a fully functional laptop.

Sam Grobart ends his NY Times post with this cheeky little note, which might very well reflect your state of mind.

The Common Man : So I would want a Chromebook because …?

Sam Grobart : Good question.

Though the comment above was meant as sarcasm, I believe it is a good question. When I bought my first laptop, I wanted every possible port a device could offer. What if I wanted to connect it to [any magical peripheral device here] ? By the end of its life I had used two, the Ethernet port (for internet) and the USB port (for everything else). The same holds true for the SLR I purchased with great enthusiasm. On most occasions I used two buttons, one that turned the power on and the other that took the picture.

So if you believe Chromebook is useless because regular laptops can do everything it does and much more, think again. When Google first launched its search engine I am sure they looked stupid with one button and one text-box, but look where they are today. And though most people think they want more features, what they really want is more simplicity. Apple and Google are organizations that get this and it is reflected in their products beautifully. Microsoft unfortunately is not one of them and anyone who has worked with Visual Studio can vouch for that ;-)

I use the computer to do three things precisely – write code, blog and surf the web (mail, news, networking). Only the first one, writing code, is something I cannot do on the Chromebook and to be honest something I prefer not doing on my laptop either. The rest of my time I spend reading and writing on the web and I think Chromebook is suited perfectly for those tasks.

So although I am not going to throw away my desktop, I can surely see myself buying a Chromebook instead of a laptop the next time. Not having to learn another Control Panel layout1 and not having to view update messages from every software installed on my machine is reason enough !

1 – Why does Microsoft do that? Am I stupid or does Administrative Services like playing hide and seek?


15 thoughts on “Google Chromebook – better or worse than a laptop ?

  1. For all these “simple and read-only” tasks a full blown computer is overkill, no ? A tablet fits the bill perfectly here.
    On another note I sometimes feel minimalism is not so good. Taken too far its stifling.

    • Minimalism leads to devices that do what they do well. Take the kindle, it has the whole keyboard and all, which is useful one might say to add notes etc, surf the web. But it just increases the size of the device and the complexity of the software leading to more bugs. So why do you want to surf the web on the kindle? Just because you have a 3G connection doesn’t mean you should check your mail ! But letting a 3G connection go waste is just too difficult for some people to digest !

      How far minimalism can be taken of course is going to be a personal choice, and I am sure some companies are trying hard to hit that perfect balance of functionality and ease of use !

      • I feel the tablets have it about right. The kindle’s junk. Its crippled intentionally for no good reason.

        “Just because you have a 3G connection doesn’t mean you should check your mail ”
        Cmmon really ? …

  2. I guess if all I do is browse the internet, check a few websites, shop, watch videos then I feel its a good buy. But pricing it like a regular laptop just does not cut it for me. Plus they arent apple to have visualing pleasing appearance that I can think of shelling extra $$$. Chromebook should be poor man’s iPad, thats where it works best. :) Good graphic!

    • Indeed, and the solutions from Samsung and Acer look rather drab :-/ Also, if MacBook Air with a hard disk and everything can weigh 1 kg, why does the 11 inch Chromebook from Acer weigh 1.3 kg? Shouldn’t it be lighter ? If the device weighed just .7 Kg or something, there would be such a strong reason to buy it.

  3. Hello Preeti,

    Came by to check out your blog after reading your sweet comment on my blog..
    Loved your blog, you seem very smart, and write about so many varied topics, will definitely be visiting more often….you have a regular reader in me…:D
    Hope to interact more with you in future…

    • Hey thanks Anjali… I unfortunately do not blog too often… and yeah.. my topics are a bit too varied :D Thanks for stopping by…

      I really liked some of the posts you had written in such a short duration.. only a few days back I was having a discussion with my husband around the “melting pot” post you wrote and I seem to have found a supporter to my argument ;-)

  4. Hey Preeti,

    You are one of my favorite commentators on my blog, and I really agree with a lot of your views, would like to connect with you outside blogworld, if you are comfortable with that…..
    If you wanna go ahead with it, please drop me an email at and we’ll take it from there….don’t wanna give out my personal email, hence using this one…

    And yea, if you’re not comfortable connecting with someone you haven’t met in real life, than I completely understand, in that case just ignore this message…

    BTW, are you maharashtrian??? I’m guessing by your last name, coz I’m one too… :D

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