Is Google getting Chromebooks ready to compete with Windows 8?

Chromebooks have always been a nice little side project for Google, but in the last few months they have taken it from a project to a priority. Several major PC manufacturers have come out with low-cost Chromebooks. These Chromebooks might not do as much as a full PC or Mac, but they are cheap, and for most people it does the job. They aren’t a problem right now, but if this continues they could seriously start eating up Windows’ market share.

As Chromebooks stand today they don’t offer much in competition to Windows 8 PCs except under cutting price. Windows 8 PCs are much more powerful, can run many more applications, and some even have touchscreens. Recent changes to Chrome may suggest that Google’s next step in the Chromebook business is to take on touchscreen PCs head-to-head.

If you use Chrome you may have noticed some recent subtle changes. Chrome now has larger and easier to see menus all over the browser. They can be seen anywhere from right clicking on something to hitting the Menu button in the upper right corner. Below you can see an example (old/new).

Google has made this change for one or two reasons. The most obvious reason is probably because of the influx of Windows devices with touchscreens. Chrome is a very popular browser, so it’s only natural they would want it to work well on all devices. A device like Microsoft Surface Pro would especially benefit from these new easier to touch menus. The other reason could be a little more down the line.

Just last week rumors popped up about a leaked Chromebook with a high resolution touchscreen display. Take that into consideration when you look at these touch optimized menus and the picture gets a little clearer. Google will most likely come out with a touchscreen Chromebook sometime in the near future. So far Chromebooks have been a small nuisance to the massive Windows ecosystem, but could touch make them even more popular? Would the addition of a touchscreen make more people choose a Chromebook over a Windows PC? The price is certainly right, but are the features? It looks like Microsoft has a new competitor.

Image via Google OS

  • I remember these. They still have their own special, sad little corner behind the massive rows of PCs and tablets at Best Buy. lol

  • If all you need to do is dick around on the interwebz and check facebook chrome books have you covered. the minute you need to do something real youre screwwed.

  • I have had nothing but joy from my Chromebooks. Quick on/quick off. Just yesterday I was at home and a co-worker emailed me about a spreadsheet they were working on. I fired up the Chromebook, opened the spreadsheet, made a boatload of changes, and shut it back off. No ridiculously long startup, no fussing with versions of email attachments, no back-and-forth, no hard disk grinding away, just productivity.

    These aren’t exactly choice if your workplace hasn’t advanced beyond what was available in 1996 or your idea of essential functionality is Minecraft, but for convenience these are top notch.

    For business use, I don’t really see why we need a touchscreen or an ultra-HD display, but I’m not going to complain if Google releases a device with these capabilities.

  • Edgar Cervantes

    Windows and Mac have their people, but those that mostly want to do online work will do just great with a Chromebook. One of the comments says Chromebooks have been cornered, but I find Chrome OS’ situation to be completely the opposite.

    At the Best Buys by my neighborhood, Chromebooks are right at the entrance. And guess what, they keep going out of stock a couple or few days after they are stocked. Meanwhile, a plethora of Windows 8 computers continue to not be sold, while many of them are on special because they CAN’T be sold.

    I am sure more people are getting Windows 8 devices, over all. All I am saying is, there is room for everyone here. And we can’t say Chromebooks are not doing good. The Samsung Chromebook was the #1 sold computer on Amazon last year, and that is counting all operating systems.

    Keep in mind we are moving towards a cloud-controlled system. The internet keeps everything moving. Soon, many more apps will come to the web and then Chromebooks will have much more to offer for the price.

  • just

    If you have a tablet do you still need a chromebook that does the same thing?

  • Edgar Cervantes

    Well, why do you think people get keyboards for their tablets? People want the full capabilities of the laptop form-factor. It depends on what you want to do with it. Remember, tablets are almost never as fast as Chromebooks. They don’t boot in a couple to a few seconds. It just depends.

  • With that in mind, of course Chromebooks have reasonable use. The problem is that the ordinary consumer will question whether or not there is a need for anything more than internet-based use.
    It is very much the same reason so many people rely on app count as THE reason to shy away from Windows Phone and stick with iOS/Android.

  • Bob G

    I’ve used Windows since DOS and I am sick of anti-virus, security updates, long start ups, and having to relearn the OS every few years. Chromebook is GREAT, a true netbook and android companion. MS is bloatware for most people. Chromebook = Cheap, light, easy, fast, and trouble for MS and Apple.

  • gordonbp

    PC World in the UK has dedicated Google stores instore in many of their major branches. They wouldn’t do that if Chromebooks were “in a sad little corner”.
    Chromebooks were the TOP selling machine on Amazon at Christmas – after the launch of Windows 8…

  • gordonbp

    Rubbish. You obviously don’t get what a Chromebook is all about…