Mobility

Why Chromebooks need Google Assistant to survive in the business world

It's been rumored that Google Assistant is coming to Chrome OS. Here's why that needs to happen in order for Chromebooks to grab a share of the business user market.

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Image: Jack Wallen

Once again, this is rumor control. These are the facts.

The movie was Alien 3—a much-maligned entry in the Alien franchise. This, however, is not an attempt to quell a rumor; but, in fact, spread one. The rumor in question is that there is a new Chromebook in the works, one with a fingerprint scanner and a dedicated button for Assistant. ChromeUnboxed originally reported about the new Chromebook, named Eve, that sported the underlying code to enable the features. The thing about that particular Chromebook is no one really knows much about it. There has been speculation as to who is making Eve, speculation that seems to want to narrow the manufacturer down to either HP or Dell.

I don't want to further fan the flames of rumor. What I want to do is make the case for Google Assistant on the Chromebook.

The case is actually quite simple to make.

What was once new

It seems forever ago that the Chromebook first appeared on the market. When it initially arrived, it seemed (to most pundits and tech fans) laughable at best. Google was trying to tell consumers they could do everything they needed within a browser. Funny thing that Google was, for the average consumer, right. Soon after Chrome OS learned to walk, it was sprinting at a blistering pace.

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It made sense that this would happen. After all, Chrome OS was a completely new take on the operating system. It was sleek, fast, and simple—exactly what most users needed. Chrome OS not only removed the complexity from the interface, it also ensured users could get things done, free from the usual hassles that brought a certain level of frustration to the competition.

That was then; this is now.

Now, in the eyes of the fickle consumer, Chrome OS has grown a bit stale. The platform has mostly been the same, since inception. Although most consumers will tell you they hate change, they also hate a lack of change. Technology is one of those fields that needs to continuously move forward, in order to avoid the appearance of stagnation. And so, the Chromebook needs something fresh, something to give it a bit of polish that hardware cannot pull off.

That something is Google Assistant.

Consider the competition

The biggest competition to the Chromebook is the Microsoft Surface. And, to offer a nod back to rumor control, Microsoft is rumored to be developing their own Cloudbook take on the Surface. What do you think that particular piece of hardware will have over the current iteration of Chromebooks?

Cortana.

There's no way Microsoft releases a cloud-based laptop without their signature assistant software. Should they pull that off and Google not deliver a Chromebook with Assistant, I would venture a guess to say that the MS take on the cloud-based laptop will see a significant surge over the Chromebook.

Why? Thanks to smartphones, people have grown accustomed to the ability to speak a hot word ("Okay Google") and interact with their devices. It's yet one of the many elements of the smartphone that makes the platform more efficient than the long in the tooth laptop metaphor. Because of this, Google needs to finally give the Chromebook an edge up on the competition—by way of the digital assistant.

The perfect evolution

The Chromebook has always been about doing things with a level of efficiency and simplicity no other platform could match. With nothing to get in the way of work, Chrome OS made for an outstanding productivity tool. Now that Google Assistant has proven its mettle on the Android platform, it's time to evolve Chrome OS to include one of the single best mobile AI tools on the market. This would make for the perfect evolution of Chrome OS. Users already have the ideal platform with which to use the Google app ecosystem, so why not give it the means to even more easily (and intelligently) interact?

Google Assistant would raise the productivity bar for the Chromebook off the charts...especially for those who live and die by the likes of Google Calendar. And considering Assistant can interact with the GSuite line of apps, this makes perfect sense.

All about business

If there's one area where the Chromebook falls a bit short, it's in the realm of business. Sure, Chromebooks have taken over the education system by storm; but for many, Chrome OS doesn't have what it takes to compete in the business sector. The MS Surface, on the other hand, has a pretty solid foot in that particular door. Should Google finally bring assistant to Chrome OS, they could easily make a much stronger case for their platform to function within the world of business. Why? Again, the answer is efficiency and productivity. And with more and more IoT devices on the rise, it's hard to not believe our connected world will continue to grow ever more connected—even in the business sector. When this happens, Google will need to have Chrome OS primed for the expansion. Couple that with the fact that employees are continually thrown more and more duties, they are going to need the ability to multitask in ways they can't, without the aid of an AI-driven digital assistant.

Make it happen

Google, this is to you: If you have any intention of the Chromebook making any serious gains in the world of business, Assistant needs to be a part of the picture. Assistant makes life (and productivity) significantly easier. That one-two combination of Chrome OS and Assistant would be a big win for busy, on-the-go users. To that end, make this happen, Google. Give Chrome OS a boost of intelligence, so business- and consumer-level users can up their game.

What do you think? Would enabling Assistant in Chrome OS make a big difference for Chromebook acceptance within the realm of business? Or is it just another feature that will go unused for most?

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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