Why I believe in Chromebooks

Why I believe in Chromebooks

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:

Note this is a blog post written from the heart, so expect some hard words and interjections. Hate it or love it, think I am wrong or right – I’ll be happy to read your comments.

My Grandma would love it.

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.

Bonus – This picture would look much better with a Chromebook on it.

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That’s all folks!

What do you think about the Chromebook? What do you think about companies that use the weaknesses of their competitors to boost sales – and dedicate this much time to it? I am looking forward to reading what you think.

5 thoughts on “Why I believe in Chromebooks

  1. I agree that for the non-techie users, it may be a good thing as probably 90% of them just use their laptops, PCs or smartphones just to access the internet. For instance, my father and my brother, just use their laptops for skype, browsing and checking emails.

    But just to start a bit of discussion, I don’t like not having control over my files. What if I just want to watch a movie? Which I do quite often, especiall when the net is down. Will I still be able to download them at all?…oh wait, right, that’s part of what they don’t want us to do anymore.

    And what about those software updates? My experience is that an update doesn’t equal to an improvement, at least at the beginning (ask anyone who just updated their iPhone to iOS 7, or their Androids to KitKat, I just keep reading tweets about problems). If my father freaks out when he sees the notification asking for a new update, I don’t want to see his reaction when the program gets updated automatically and he has to re-learn how to use it (BTW being me the one having to teach him again).

    1. Valid points! Here are my answers:

      According to this page about offline chromebook use, you can still use chromebook to listen to music offline – so I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to reproduce video as well.

      Regarding confusing usability updates, most Google updates come with a very good tutorial to let you know new features and how to get the most out of them – I don’t see relearning Google apps as a problem as also most of the time what they do is actually improving and simplifying the user experience.

  2. It’s hard for me to be critical, as I’m typing away on my Samsung Chromebook. I liked the post, and the only thing I might ad is that whenever Chrome (or Android) gets updated, there’s always a new video on Youtube addressing the changes and how to use the new features. You don’t even have to read if you don’t want to…

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