The best way to seed an interest in technology to someone that has never seen a computer or the Internet (try it with grandparents!) is to go to Google Maps and fly to their house, a famous touristic place like the Eiffel tower or a place with any significance to them. Spreadsheets are boring. Travelling to New York from your living room in Madrid is exciting. Magic.
My grandmother saw a computer for the first time in my house around 1993. It was a very interested laptop that I then inherited from my father, and disassemble in my first attempts to understand computers in 2004. I regret it so much now as it was a very cool thing to have today, but as much as both my dad and I liked it, it was not attractive to my grandmother. She could just see a black screen where my dad would make his magic economic stuff and I would paint and play text based games. She was not a big fan.
However, in the last years, as we started changing huge laptops for ipads and iphones, she has been dropping that ‘I wouldn’t mind if you would give me a computer, help me sign up for an Internet line and gave me an introduction buuuuut I am too old’ thing in every Family Reunion thing. All thanks to nice simple design that shows you what you need as a very inexperienced user. Not even for all the gold of the world would I try to get my grandma started with a Windows Vista laptop and Explorer. She would have as many troubles to watch movies with the wonderful Microsoft Video Player as she had with her old VHS. I can see her freaking out at ‘Alert: System Update. Proceed?’ Messages as much as she does when her cell phone goes mysteriously to silent mode and she can’t make it very loud anymore.
“Doesn’t do anything without Internet” doesn’t sound like a problem to me.
What do we do without Internet anyway? I have this thing: ‘Oh! Internet doesn’t work! What about I read a paper book / go shopping / cook something?’.
Unless you are a programmer, a designer, or a writer, a computer without Internet is like a garden without flowers. And seeing things like hood.ie make me think that, sometime in the future, a lot of coding will happen on the browser. And why are we talking about not being connected to the Internet anyway?? If all goes well and the bad guys don’t beat the good guys (if you know what I mean), access to Internet should be universal and of great quality in some years from now. Check this out! Universal Right to Internet Access! You should be working on this and not making anti Google landing pages.
I could rant about ‘getting a Windows computer online’ here (I have used Windows machines for ages) but I am working on improving how I give feedback and I have to work on making it positive & productive feedback: If the Internet doesn’t work, I’ll just use my iPhone as a hotspot – how does that sound? This may be a little ahead for our times, but my position is still for why use an OS and installed apps when you can use a browser? Tech friends, before you get mad at me – remember I am talking about average computer users. Think our mums playing Candy Crush and our teenage brothers watching Youtube videos, a teacher preparing a class or your non-techie friends that just use their home laptops to check their internet banking, read emails and watch movies online.
Chromebooks can have a great impact in professional provisioning of equipment. In most companies employees are given a laptop on their first days in the team and it needs to be provisioned by the person or the team in charge of IT. In some cases the provisioning consists of cloud management of new accounts, and it is ideal for organizations to move as much of this provisioning as possible to cloud services, as this simplifies the tasks and allows for remote provisioning. Chromebooks let organizations move the complete provisioning to the cloud, as even device configuration and management can be done remotely with google business tools.
In short chromebooks allow organizations to handover a work device that can be automatically configured, shortening the time a new employee needs to be able to work from their new equipment from days to minutes.
Microsoft vs the Chromebook
Microsoft is making a marketing campaign of very questionable taste against the Google Chromebook. Their Scroogled (I am not going to link to it. Google it. Ha!) site has been attaching Google for some time already, with dedicated landing pages for each way in which Google sucks and Microsoft is much better. They point out stuff like how Google reads your email and tracks your searches to sell you adds, or how the Chromebook is not actually a laptop and can’t run real stuff like Office or Skype.
I want to write a couple of things about targeted ads. I’m all for them, as I’d rather see ads about cheap flight tickets to places I’ve been checking about than ads selling viagra pills or gardening workshops – but this post is about the two main reasons why I believe in Chromebooks. Don’t know what a Chromebook is? Check this video: