Google formally released its first batch of Chromebooks last week and IT has received its first few to test in a pilot program. The Chromebooks, produced by Samsung and Acer, are netbook-style laptops running a customized, pared down version of Linux with the Google Chrome browser. Chromebooks are fast to start up and are designed to be very reliable, with patches delivered quickly from Google's servers and security built from the ground up.
Chromebooks are optimized for web-based apps and browsing, and have minimal local storage and no application level access on the device. They are designed to be devices for accessing the web, not for local processing.
We're interested in whether Chromebooks might be a good fit for situations where people need temporary laptops, such as for visiting students/faculty, and for employees who travel only occasionally and might check one out from a pool. Chromebooks are ideal for multi-user situations because of their limited local storage and easy management.
We'll be putting a Chromebook in the new Reading Room at the cafeteria sometime early next month so that Lab folks can check in out. In the meantime, if you have one or have any feedback on the idea, let us know. We'll update with additional blog posts as our pilot progresses.