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Chromebooks for business: more details

If you've read what Google's Rajen Sheth had to say about Chromebooks for business, you may be interested in some extra details he gave us about how the monthly subscription scheme will work - and some colourful ways he found of explaining what Google sees as the advantage of a Chromebook.What would happen if a business wanted to cancel the three year contract?

If you've read what Google's Rajen Sheth had to say about Chromebooks for business, you may be interested in some extra details he gave us about how the monthly subscription scheme will work - and some colourful ways he found of explaining what Google sees as the advantage of a Chromebook.

What would happen if a business wanted to cancel the three year contract? The way we have it right now is you would just pay off the rest of your term. We try to do it such that over that time we give people value, we give people something that is markedly less than what they're paying right now. If you do want to terminate you would pay for that time period and we would not upgrade that.

We spread the cost out over three years, to be in line with hardware refresh cycles. The way it works that on a three year refresh cycle, we will send you a new one and you'll continue to have your hardware get better and better over time, as well as your software.

The desktop is like buying a car; the moment you drive it off the lot it dips in value and you have to pour maintenance dollars into it, to keep it at status quo. But the clouds is like a house that you buy that gets upgraded all the time. You don't have to keep doing it.; it's as if you show up one day and you have a new bathroom, you show up another day and you get granite countertops. It just gets better and better and better over time.

When you manage a Chromebook user, can you keep that in sync with Active Directory? You can migrate in groups and be able to set policies based on those existing groups or you could create new groups. What we're striving for is it will be a very, very simple thing to do on Chrome but that is one thing we're looking at, how do we actually make this an integrated experience.

The open source Chromium OS is still available but you're not letting businesses just download the Chrome OS from the Chromebooks; why not? Chrome OS is actually the hardware and software combination; that's one of the reasons why we're offering this as a complete package to businesses. We really feel this model of thinking of hardware and software separately is not very suited to giving a fantastic user experience. For Chrome OS we've married the hardware very tightly to the software.

As a UK business, can you make sure my data is in a cloud in my geographical area if I'm in a regulated industry? A lot of this is built on top of the same infrastructure that Google Apps is built on, so every time we improve Google Apps we leverage that; everything from data storage to policies. We have been working very closely with EU agencies on exactly this point; is it safe for people to put their data into this environment if they're in the UK? We apply for the Safe Harbour agreement every year to make sure that is possible. As Google Apps improve with all of this you'll see this improve as well.

Mary Branscombe