These aren’t meant to be cheap computers. They’re meant to be great experiences.
— Sundar Pichai, Google Senior VP of Chrome, on the Chromebook, Google’s low-priced Chrome OS notebook computers.
Pichai’s emphasis on user experience reflects a bit of a departure for Google, which has faced criticism in the past for focusing more on algorithms and engineering than on the people using their products. But perhaps this approach is an attempt by the company to change its stripes in an increasingly people-centric web landscape.
And while the Chromebook may be new, the idea behind it isn’t. As Om pointed out after the Chromebook beta launch in December 2010, stripped-down and inexpensive “network computers” have been in the works for nearly 15 years. Maybe the focus on experience will be what helps the Chromebook succeed where others have not.