Key talents that helped create Google’s Chromebook solution launched on May 12 have a strong India connection. The Chrome operating system team is led by Google Vice President Sundar Pichai, who has his origins in Tamil Nadu, a BTech from IIT Kharagpur ,an MS from Stanford University and an MBA from Wharton School. Before joining Google in 2004, Pichai held various engineering and product management positions at Applied Materials, and was also a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Pichai’s team first unveiled Ghrome OS in November 2009 (not to be confused with the Chrome browser which was also steered by a Pichai-led team).
Others who played key roles in the Chrome OS development and rollout include Vikas Gupta, Product Manager, Google Payments Team and Rajen Seth, Product Manager, Chrome OS for Business, who both joined Pichai on stage for the San Francisco launch.
This week at Google I/O conference Pichai announced the world’s first Chromebooks – Notebooks optimised to work on Chrome OS, with day long battery backup, a lightining fast 8 second start up – and everything else on the Web. That way users don’t ever have to bother about updating their machines, putting in third party anti-virus or security features. Google promises to keep updating the Chrome OS all the time so thast users always work in the latest environment.
The Samsung Chrome book is a 12.1 inch machine using a new dual core Intel Atom chip and costs $ 429 for the WiFi version and $ 499 for the 3G version; while Acer offers, similarly powered by Intel is a 11.6 inch machine that costs $ 349 for WiFi. They will be available in the US and Europe in mid June and later worldwide. But in developed markets, Google is plugging a subscription model where the Chromebooks are free against 3-year subscription for web based services at $ 28 per month for businesses and $ 20 for students. But it remains to be seen what its strategy would be in geographies like India and China.
Early reactions have questioned whether at these prices, chromebooks would be deemed by consumers to be much of a value over Netbooks and Tablets which are similarly priced. But that may missing the radical shift Google is banking on – users increasingly unwilling to pay for large storage or heavy apps on their machines, when everything – storage, office tools, productivity and entertainment/gaming aids can be had for free (or near free) as Web-based serices. Chromebook specs: http://www.google.com/chromebook/#chromebooks
Reuters Story on Chromebook launch: http://www.portfolio.com/business-news/reuters/2011/05/11/google-launches-chrome-pcs-takes-on-microsoft#ixzz1MDBKO8mx
We feature for a few days the hour long recording of the Sundar Pichai keynote at Google I/) in our video slot.
May 13 2011